“I’ve invented a language that must necessarily spring from a new conception of poetry. I could define it in these words: To paint, not the thing, but the effect it produces.”
– French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé and friend of Jean-Édouard Vuillard (18 March 1842 – 9 September 1898)
Jean-Edouard Vuillard (1 November 1868 – 21 June 1940) created 12 paintings and a cover design for the book Paysages et Intérieurs (‘Landscapes and Interiors’). The 13 lithographs on china paper, wrapped in a half-vellum and batik-printed paper-covered folder, were printed in Paris, France, by A. Clot, and published by A. Vollard, Paris.
Jean-Édouard Vuillard was a French painter best known for his unique and exquisite interior paintings, and for his association with the artist group Les Nabis (Hebrew for ‘prophets’), members of which included Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallotton, and Paul Sérusier. His dreamy interiors merge the room with its inhabitants. Things merge and meld until everything comes alive.
Vuillard’s intimate interiors were inspired by the 60 years he lived with his mother in a succession of apartments in Paris. The son of a disabled French Marine sergeant, Jean-Edouard Vuillard moved with his family to Paris at the age of 9. After attending high school on a scholarship, he trained at the French Academy of Fine Arts, where he met Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). He was a keen observer of the interplay between family & friends. The rooms he shared for so long with his mother became the set pieces of his art – lovingly recorded in intricate mosaics of dappled color & sensitive brushwork. His 1890s works are among the finest examples of domestic interior paintings. After the death of his mother in 1928, Vuillard, who never married, nonetheless spent much time with his 40-year mistress Lucie Hessel and her husband Jos, who was his art dealer for most of his career. Trying to escape from the Nazi invasion of Paris, he died of heart failure in a hotel in La Baule in 1940.
“No artist has so successfully suggested the soul of an interior—the sense of habitation…
There is always something in the background with [Vuillard]. It is possible to have one of his interiors in the house for a month, and one fine day to discover a figure in the corner, and not only a figure, but a whole story.”
– Julius Meier-Graefe
“No artist has so successfully suggested the soul of an interior – the sense of habitation… There is always something in the background. It is possible to have one of his interiors in the house for a month, and one fine day to discover a figure in the corner, and not only a figure, but a whole story.”
– Julius Meier-Graefe, German art critic and publisher (June 10, 1867 – June 5, 1935)
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