Happy Birthday Edouard Vuillard
Edouard Vuillard was born in Cuiseax at the foot of the Jura Mountains. He lived most of his artistic life in Paris on the Square Vintimille, in a small apartment tended by his mother who had been a dressmaker. A student at the Académie Julian between 1888 and 1890, Vuillard was an early member of the Nabis. At the urging of Sérusier, their link with Gauguin, the group left the Académie. Vuillard shared a studio with Bonnard and Lugné-Poë, whose theater Vuillard helped decorate. It was as a theatrical designer that he learned to work in distemper (tempera paint mixed with sizing), a manner he applied for a considerable period to his own works, done on gray cardboard. Vuillard’s very early works show an affinity with those of Corot and Chardin, but in 1890 he began to work in an almost Fauve-like palette that reveals the influence of Gauguin and Japanese prints. He soon abandoned this brilliant color to work in a quiet, softly colored style. Between 1893 and 1914, Vuillard painted small interiors, portraits of his friends, decorations for theaters, and a set of paintings (Paris Gardens) for Thadée Natanson, publisher of La Revue Blanche, the publication to which both Vuillard and Bonnard contributed lithographs. From 1914 until his death, he devoted himself entirely to the subtly harmonious, decorative, and nostalgic domestic scenes of the Intimist style with which his name is most closely associated. His paintings have a special personal quality that stems from his love of order and his feeling for the peace of quiet domesticity, for he play of light within small areas, and for he interplay of patterns, objects, walls, and people who blend together in soft nuances of warm, subdued color. Vuillard presents a world in which no outside disturbance penetrates the peaceful continuity of an interior life, a world that vanished almost precisely at the moment of his death. Vuillard died just after the outbreak of World War II, at La Baule, near St. Nazaire on the Atlantic coast.