Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspired By: A Well-Lived Life

There's something about sitting indoors in snow storm, watching the flakes drift, that sets the mind to wandering -- my thoughts as I spent most of yesterday cozied up in my PJs? Who do I want to be when I'm in my 90s?

 Rosamond Bernier with husband John Russell at the Tate in 2007

Last Monday morning, I caught just the end of a NPR interview with Rosamond Bernier, adventurer, Vogue editor, Metropolitan Museum of Art lecturer, who at 95 wrote her memoirs Some of My Lives. It's been on my list since it was published last fall, just before we took off for Spain. Hearing this charming woman speak about her years in Paris, I couldn't wait another moment to start reading about the life she's lived so far.

 Photographed by Horst in 1968 in her Paris Apartment, wearing Madame Gres

After just a short aquiantence through the pages of her book, interviews she's given and videos of her Met lectures, it's impossible not to be dazzled by her life. 

 With Matisse 

 With Max Ernst 

 With Joan Miro 

The artists she met and befriended -- Matisse, Picasso, Miro, Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein.

 In Chanel

 Rosamond looks on as Gertrude Stein is photographed for Vogue in Pierre Balmain's Paris studio

 A green Balenciaga gown she wore throughout her life, a gift to the Met Costume Institute

 Lecturing in Zandra Rhodes

The Couture she wrote about and wore equally well.

 In Barcelona at Guadi's Park Guell with Miro

 In Acapulco 

With her menagerie in Mexico

The places she traveled. The ocelot she smuggled onto a flight to Mexico!

Interviewing Henry Moore about Rodin

It's an amazing life she's living. One that doesn't seem possible to be emulated by mere mortals.  But, when you think about it, she worked hard, brought art into her life, looked at the world optimistically, practiced kindness, pursued places, topics and people that fascinated her and who she loved... Things that any of us can do.

"I don't consider myself exceptional in any way. I think I've had exceptional good luck," she told Vogue's Leslie Camhi.

In her New York Apartment - Photos from Rosamond Bernier, Vogue, and Elle Decor 

I hope that when I turn 95, I can look at my life, think about the places I've been, the things I've seen and the people I've loved and believe I've been exceptionally lucky. I'd like to think I'm off to a very good start.

Looking for a little inspiration for a well lived- life? Her book is lovely and fascinating, you can find an excerpt here. And her last lecture for The Met. Wow.

What's your definition of a well-lived life?


  1. What an inspiring post Jeanne! I think your description of her describes a pretty amazing, well-lived life! I think I need to add that book to my reading list...

  2. What a fascinating post and you have me running to get her book. Don't you just love women/people like this. She is a woman after my own heart, travel, art friendship and kindness to all we meet.
    Long may she like

    I am delighted to find you and am your most recent following.
    I will look forward to your visit

  3. If I haven't told you before... I just love your blog. I love this post and I now want to get Rosamond Bernier's book immediately. She sounds absolutely fascinating...(how much do you love NPR?!).

  4. What an inspiration! To have lived a well-lived life is my ultimate goal. To enjoy the journey, take it all in, not take things for granted and also to take the leap at opportunities.

    I'm trying. But, I feel like I could do better after reading this.

    Hope things are back to normal in your corner of the world!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  5. She truly is eloquent and lovely. This book looks amazing, Jeanne.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. WOW - what a star! I really enjoyed your post and have added the book to my TO-DO list!
    Thanks for sharing....

  7. I think to not take anything for granted is something to inspire a well-lived life. I feel her sense of gratitude.
    I guess if one makes it to NPR, that is also something to be in awe of. To be pro-active, to take risks and to enjoy and try new things.
    Off to have a listen.

  8. Insane post Jeanne. But one of my closest friends, Sonny, just turned 75 and she has had an amazing life too. Somehow things just seemed to be bigger then (at least to me! But she told me that "Mad Men" was not exaggerating in the least). She is beautiful and her utmost self and that inspires me to no end, just like my Mom. Wherever you are do good, gather all the happiness that you can and be grateful THAT is a well-lived life.

  9. I thought I was having a 'well lived life' until I read your wonderful post.... I have to get busy! xv

  10. I'm so glad you did this post since I was meaning to buy this book a few months ago and it slipped my mind.I'm off to purchase it and can't wait to read.

    Enjoy your evening!



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