Edouard Vuillard (1868 – 1940)

Edouard Vuillard (1868 – 1940)

Joanne has recommended to take a look at Edouard Vuillards work for this “Intimacy” chapter. I will approach it with some short information situating the artist and some key points of his work that I found beautifully summarized on the following website:

Theartstoryorg. 2016. The Art Story. [Online]. [11 July 2016]. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-vuillard-edouard.htm


Édouard Vuillard was a member of the Symbolist group known as Les Nabis (from the Hebrew and Arabic term for “prophets” and, by extension, the artist as the “seer” who reveals the invisible). However, he was less drawn to the mystical aspects of the group and more drawn to fashionable private venues where philosophical discussions about poetry, music, theatre, and the occult occurred. Because of his preference for the painting of interior and domestic scenes, he is often referred to as an “intimist,” along with his friend Pierre Bonnard. He executed some of these “intimist” works in small scale, while others were conceived on a much larger scale made for the interiors of the people who commissioned the work.

Key Ideas

For Vuillard, reticent by nature, the subject of the interior served as a symbol for the interior self, separate from the rest of the world. This is an aspect of a modernist idea – the notion that one’s personal viewpoint, a subjective view of reality, can gain insight into the truth.
As a Symbolist painter and part of the fin-de-siècle escape into the aesthetic, Vuillard employed flat patterns into which his figures were embedded in order to express both emotion and ideas. This kind of abstract painting evolved to communicate ideas not expressible through traditional painterly means. Color and shape could represent experiences that are difficult to express in words.
Although the Symbolists were, in general, anti-utilitarian (and more art-for-art’s sake), Vuillard created large-scale screens and murals that were architectural in conception (and part of the “applied arts”). These large-scale works – intended for the use of interior decoration – linked him to other modernists’ search for the “total work of art” (the Gesamtkunstwerk) that would help unify society, but updated it to function in contemporary interior spaces.


Images from: Articedu. 2016. Articedu. [Online]. [11 July 2016]. Available from: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/22708?search_no=1


30999_387581The Game of Checkers1899,Color lithograph on greyish-ivory laid paper, 374 x 282 mm (image); 446 x 347 mm (sheet)

81189_2007043Album Cover for Landscapes and Interiors1899,Color lithograph on grayish-ivory laid China paper, 523 x 402 mm (image); 607 x 442 mm (sheet)

28668_227420The Avenue, plate two from Landscapes and Interiors1899,Color lithograph on grayish-ivory China paper, 311 x 411 mm (image); 334 x 442 mm (sheet)

246286_3796157Interior with Pink Wallpaper III, plate seven from Landscapes and Interiors1899,Color lithograph on grayish-ivory China paper,342 x 275 mm (image); 374 x 300 mm (sheet)

5554_1649758Still Life with Jug and Knife1888/89,Oil on canvas,12 x 15 1/2 in. (30.5 x 39.4 cm)
Inscribed lower left: E. Vuillard

3408_1617023Oil on cardboard28 3/4 x 24 1/2 in. ,(76 x 62.4 cm),Signed and dated, l.l.: “E Vuillard 1905”

Some more paintings from the Exhibition in Musee D’Orsay , Paris, 2004- the vastest Edouard Vuillard exhibition to date with 280 exhibits dispalyed:

Musee-orsayfr. 2016. Musee-orsayfr. [Online]. [11 July 2016]. Available from: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay/article/edouard-vuillard-1868-1940-4205.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=252

0bd5acfb36Edouard Vuillard Autoportrait à la canne et au canotier

Le déjeuner, Le déjeuner du matin, en 1903
I008014Au lit, en 1891, huile sur toile
I069341Edouard Vuillard,Le placard à linge,vers 1893huile sur carton,H. 0.265 ; L. 0.215musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
tmp_50479cd09152f5f000bfdc161872a9b5Edouard Vuillard,La ravaudeuse, en 1891, huile sur cartonH. 0.27 ; L. 0.215, musée d’Orsay, Paris, France©photo musée d’Orsay


tmp_39e60296ec1ed35bf5de2393aa3e92e9Edouard Vuillard,Bouquet d’anémones blanches, vers 1909, peinture à la colle sur papier, contrecollé sur cartonH. 0.46 ; L. 0.56musée d’Orsay, Paris, France©photo musée d’Orsay / rmn

I018191Edouard Vuillard, Bouquet de soucis sur la cheminée, vers 1930pastel sur papier beigeH. 0.257 ; L. 0.326musée d’Orsay, Paris, France©photo musée d’Orsay / rm


It is interesting for me to discover how the patterns and interior scenes stand in the foreground of both portraits and still life. The bouquets of flowers in vases are not “placed” with some other still life objects, bottles, fruits etc, but shown in their surrounding with more attention to the feel of the room. The portraits are also rather studies of the room and patterns. Often these patterns are extremely detailed and intricate, but then there are still unfinished or quickly scribbled parts that leave a sense of spontaneity and movement. This is something I definitely would like to let flow into my own drawings- the balance between detail and letting detail out.


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