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  • Edouard Vuillard
    Nov 11, 1868 - Jun 21, 1940
  • Une dame sous la lampe (Rue de Naples) - Jean-Édouard Vuillard was a co-founder of the Nabis in 1888, one of the artists grouped around the Revue blanche, he is best known for the interiors and garden scenes generally described as 'intimist', a misleading term which understates the firmness of their design, the strength of their colour harmonies, and his highly individual fusion of the natural forms derived from Impressionism and the decorative patterning he saw in Gauguin and Japanese art.
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Une dame sous la lampe (Rue de Naples)
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  • Une dame sous la lampe (Rue de Naples)

  • Edouard Vuillard
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  • A lady under the lamp (Naples Street)
    1933
    Distemper
    80 x 85 cm. (31.5 x 33.5 in.)

    Treating Vuillard’s favourite subject, that of a figure in a domestic setting, Une Dame sous la lampe depicts Miche Marchand in the salon of the Hessels’ Paris home at 33, rue de Naples. Vuillard knew Miche at least since 1910, when she sat for his Portrait de Miche Savoir, now at the Tate Modern London. At the time, she was married to the successful Parisian dramatist Alfred Savoir, whose real name was Alfred Poznanski, and was also very close to Lucy Hessel, a long-standing friend and patron of Vuillard’s. Annette Vaillant recalled Miche as a young woman: "Miche Savoir, youthful and Polish like her husband, who was her cousin, did not suit the period’s canons of beauty. With a small, amber-coloured, Kalmuck face and salient cheekbones beneath pretty, slightly slanting, green eyes, she liked to dress in unusual clothes. I thought she was beautiful" (quoted in A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, op. cit., vol. II, p. 1107).

    The interior depicted in the present work is the salon of the Hessels’ apartment at 33, rue de Naples, where Vuillard spent most of his evenings. The scene depicted here is closely related to Vuillard's larger oil Dans le salon le soir, rue de Naples of 1933, now at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., showing Madame Marchand in the same interior, which is extended to the right to include another two figures. Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval have described this composition as "the portrait of Madame Léopold Marchand resting her elbow on a mahogany table bearing a blue porcelain lamp with a yellow shade trimmed with deep red. The right-hand side of the composition is bathed in yellow light. At the centre is a small pastel by Vuillard on a presentation stand; on the left, a grey fireplace beneath a large mirror in which objects on the mantelpiece stand out against a shadowy reflection of the far end of the room" (ibid., vol. III, p. 1506). This atmosphere of tranquillity and meditation motivated Jacques Salomon to describe this work "as [one of his masterpieces of intimacy and contemplation]" (J. Salomon, op. cit., p. 184).

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Other paintings by Edouard Vuillard:

Mademoiselle Jacqueline Fontaine
Mademoiselle Jacqueline Fontaine
The Clos Cezanne at Vaucresson
The Clos Cezanne at Vaucresson
The Salon of Madame Aron
The Salon of Madame Aron
A Corner of the Place Vintimille, View from the Artist's Window
A Corner of the Place Vintimille, View from the Artist's Window
Edouard VuillardEdouard Vuillard was born in Cuiseaux on November 11, 1868, and lived in Paris as of 1877. He gets to know Ker-Xavier Roussel and Maurice Denis at the Lycée Condorcet, who are his fellow students. He finds his way to painting through Roussel, his later brother in law. Both attend the Académie des Beaux-arts as of 1888, and later the Académie Julian, where they also meet Pierre Bonnard and Félix Vallotton. Together, along with Paul Sérusier, they found the artists group "Nabis" (Hebrew: "The Prophets") in 1890.

Inspired by Japanese color woodcuts and the painting of Paul Gauguin, the artists experiment with a new concept of image space, in doing so they attain a decorative flatness and pattern-like order of what is depicted. The image's colors do not primarily consider the exact reproduction of the object, but follow esthetic aspects.

Edouard Vuillards painting "Au lit" from 1891 is a prime example of the artistic wants of "Nabis". However, his pictures do not entirely follow the "Nabis" symbolism, as they are characterized by a certain decency in form and color.

Among his most important works are portraits and interior pictures. He also creates a great oeuvre of lithographs. His works reflect simple settings and the realities of everyday life in Paris in his days. He finds his subjects right around him, his circle of family and friends.

In 1940 Edouard Vuillard leaves Paris to flee the approaching troops. He dies a little later in La Baule on the Atlantic coast on June 21, 1940.

In 1977 the Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo sets up an important exhibition. The Lyon Musée des Beaux-Arts shows a retrospective in 1990. His art is also honored in exhibitions in the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2003 and in 2008-2009 in the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe.