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Edouard Vuillard    (French, 1868-1940)

 Edouard Vuillard - Intérieur à la teinture rose II (Prints and Multiples) h: 13.9 x w: 10.9 in / h: 35.3 x w: 27.7 cm
Edouard Vuillard
Intérieur à la teinture rose II 1899
 Edouard Vuillard - L'Atre (Prints and Multiples) h: 13.2 x w: 10.9 in / h: 33.5 x w: 27.7 cm
Edouard Vuillard
L'Atre 1899
 Edouard Vuillard - La Naissance d’Annette (Prints and Multiples) h: 16.1 x w: 20.2 in / h: 40.9 x w: 51.3 cm
Edouard Vuillard
La Naissance d’Annette 1899

In reviewing an exhibition of Vuillard’s work in 1991, the painter Howard Hodgkin highlighted a central problem with the artist’s oeuvre: “No one in a museum knows where to put him. He has fallen between one index card and another for too long ... Each picture is a new adventure, a new beginning. There is nothing that will enable you to bypass having to look at the pictures themselves.”
Vuillard’s drawings, in pastel, charcoal or pencil, have qualities quite separate from his work in oils.
As John Russell Taylor wrote in 1994: “The pencil lines appear to meander and fluctuate almost at random, and yet try for a moment to remove any one of them and you find that something essential would be gone.”
Vuillard was born in Cuiseaux (Saone-et-Loire) but moved to Paris with his family at the age of 10, where he went to school with Maurice Denis and Xavier Rossel. All three went on to study at the Academie Juilian, and with Bonnard, Seruisier and Valloton formed the Nabis group of painters.
The group flourished in the 1890’s and Vuillard became known for his intimate interiors painted in an original style with flattish colours.
From 1900 he, together with Bonnard, became increasingly naturalistic in style and the two of them became the main practitioners of Intimisme, which made use of cameras to capture fleeting informal meetings of groups of friends or relatives in intimate surroundings.
He had several close female friends and generally preferred to paint female sitters.
Although a successful artist he lived relatively modestly, sharing an apartment with his widowed mother until her death in 1928 (he often depicted her in his paintings).
He was reserved and quiet although affectionate and very much liked, but he seldom showed his paintings except at the gallery of his dealer Bernheim Jeune.
The public knew little of his work until the Musee des arts Decoratif held a major retrospective in Paris in 1938.
He died in La Baule while fleeing the German invasion.
For many years he kept a detailed journal (48 volumes all held in the Institute de France, Paris) which he revealed his thoughtful attitude towards art and life.
As a genuine artistic pioneer of the first years of the 20th century, his work is in most of the world’s great collections.
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