Édouard Vuillard

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Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard 001.jpg
Self-Portrait, 1889, oil on canvas
Born (1868-11-11)11 November 1868
Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died 21 June 1940(1940-06-21) (aged 71)
La Baule, Loire-Atlantique, France
Nationality French
Known for Painting, printmaking

Jean-Édouard Vuillard (11 November 1868 – 21 June 1940) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis.

Early years and education[edit]

Jean-Édouard Vuillard, the son of a retired captain, spent his youth at Cuiseaux (Saône-et-Loire); in 1878 his family moved to Paris in modest circumstances. After his father's death in 1884, Vuillard received a scholarship to continue his education. In the Lycée Condorcet Vuillard met Ker Xavier Roussel (also a future painter and Vuillard's future brother in law), Maurice Denis, musician Pierre Hermant, writer Pierre Véber, and Lugné-Poe.

In 1885, Vuillard left the Lycée Condorcet. On the advice of his closest friend, Roussel, he refused a military career and joined Roussel at the studio of painter Diogène Maillart. There, Roussel and Vuillard received the rudiments of artistic training. In 1887, after three unsuccessful attempts, Vuillard passed the entrance examination for the École des Beaux-Arts.[1] Vuillard kept a private journal from 1888–1905 and later from 1907 to 1940.[2]

Les Nabis and after[edit]

Ker-Xavier Roussel, Édouard Vuillard, Romain Coolus, Félix Vallotton, 1899
Le corsage rayé, 1895, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (1983.1.38).
Interieur, 1902, Dallas Museum of Art

By 1890, the year in which Vuillard met Pierre Bonnard and Paul Sérusier, he had joined the Nabis, a group of art students inspired by the synthetism of Gauguin.[3] He contributed to their exhibitions at the Gallery of Le Barc de Boutteville, and later shared a studio with fellow Nabis Bonnard and Maurice Denis. In the early 1890s he worked for the Théâtre de l'Œuvre of Lugné-Poe designing settings and programs.

In 1898 Vuillard visited Venice and Florence. The following year he made a trip to London. Later he went to Milan, Venice and Spain. Vuillard also traveled in Brittany and Normandy.

Vuillard first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants of 1901 and at the Salon d'Automne in 1903. In the 1890s Vuillard met the brothers Alexandre and Thadée Natanson, the founders of La Revue Blanche, a cultural review. Vuillardʹs graphics appeared in the journal, together with Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Félix Vallotton and others.[4] In 1892, on the advice of the Natanson brothers, Vuillard painted his first decorations ("apartment frescoes") for the house of Mme Desmarais. Subsequently he fulfilled many other commissions of this kind: in 1894 for Alexandre Natanson, in 1898 for Claude Anet, in 1908 for Bernstein, and in 1913 for Bernheim and for the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The last commissions he received date to 1937 (Palais de Chaillot in Paris, with Bonnard) and 1939 (Palais des Nations in Geneva, with Denis, Roussel and Chastel).

In his paintings and decorative pieces Vuillard depicted mostly interiors, streets and gardens. Marked by a gentle humor, they are executed in the delicate range of soft, blurred colors characteristic of his art. Living with his mother, a dressmaker, until the age of sixty, Vuillard was very familiar with interior and domestic spaces. Much of his art reflected this influence, largely decorative and often depicting very intricate patterns.

In 1912 Vuillard painted Théodore Duret in his Study, a commissioned portrait that signalled a new phase in Vuillard's work, which was dominated by portraiture from 1920 onwards.[5]

Vuillard served as a juror with Florence Meyer Blumenthal in awarding the Prix Blumenthal, a grant given between 1919–1954 to young French painters, sculptors, decorators, engravers, writers, and musicians.[6]

Vuillard died in La Baule in 1940.

Selected works[edit]

Breakfast, 1894, oil on cardboard, 26.9 x 22.9 cm. (Zoom)
Le Grand Teddy, 1918, glue distemper on canvas, 150 x 290 cm

Recent exhibitions (selection)[edit]



  1. ^ Thompson 1988, p. 10.
  2. ^ Vuillard's private journal- a collage of notes, images and sketches 1888–1895 & 1907 to 1940
  3. ^ Thompson 1988, p. 18.
  4. ^ Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940 at The Jewish Museum
  5. ^ Thompson 1988, p. 126.
  6. ^ "Florence Meyer Blumenthal". Jewish Women's Archive, Michele Siegel. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Frèches-Thory, Claire, & Perucchi-Petri, Ursula, ed.: Die Nabis: Propheten der Moderne, Kunsthaus Zürich & Grand Palais, Paris & Prestel, Munich 1993 ISBN 3-7913-1969-8 (German), (French)
  • Guy Cogerval, Vuillard-Master of the Intimate Interior, Thames & Hudson, London 2002 ISBN 0-500-30109-3
  • Guy Cogeval and Antoine Salomon, Vuillard: Critical Catalogues of Paintings and Pastels, Paris: Milan: Skila, 2003.
  • Claude Roger-Marx, The Graphic work of Édouard Vuillard, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1990.
  • Édouard Vuillard, Édouard Vuillard, JPL Fine Arts, 1985 ASIN B00100R0HC

External links[edit]