Musée d'Orsay: Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

ARCHIVE
2003

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painting
Edouard VuillardInterrogation of the Prisoner© Paris, musée d'Histoire contemporaine
1914-1918, the war brought a break in his career. Enlisted as a military artist for a while, Vuillard captured a reality that had taken a tragic turn (Interrogation of the Prisoner, Musée d'Histoire contemporaine, Paris). After the war, Vuillard continued to express the "quivering of the times" in his portraits. A few poorly-known examples are presented here: manufacturers, bankers and actresses - his favourite clientele. "I do not do portraits, I paint people at home,": Vuillard's laconic comment pinpoints his artistic ambition, largely nourished by his experience as a decorator. His models and their surroundings are placed on the same level, with no hierarchy. Vuillard details all the clues to changes in taste, fashion or technical progress. Thus his talent as a portraitist takes us from the wicked charm of Yvonne Printemps coaxing Sacha Guitry to the rigors of Art Deco in the portrait of Jeanne Lanvin.

painting
Edouard VuillardJeanne Lanvin© DR - RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
The last twenty years of his life were the apotheosis of his career. The decorator stepped forward for the last time, painting murals for the Théâtre de Chaillot in Paris and the League of Nations in Geneva (1938). The exhibition permits a re-evaluation of this last period, questioning his contribution to the "return to objectivity" between the two wars, and looking at the way the Nabi painter remained an artist of his time, challenging tradition and observing modern life with lucidity and irony.

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