Dans une salle (1899)

Vuillard, Édouard (1868-1940)

Dans une salle (In a Room)
Oil on cardboard pasted on panel, 52 x 79 cm
Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

This artist’s fondness for the depiction of domestic scenes was probably bound up with recollections of the sewing atelier that Vuillard’s mother opened after his father’s death. In this fairly small work, the painter presents the space as if seen by a visitor upon entering the premises. The women are engaged in their work and are not major protagonists. They go about their own lives, completely ignoring the viewer. The artist shows us a picture within a picture – the unhurried course of the day, quiet conversations, the logs crackling in the small stove… One could gaze for hours at this depiction, which captures with astonishing precision a state resembling a freeze-frame in the cinema. As early as 1889, Vuillard became close friends with Bonnard, and he was one of the founders of the Nabis group. His small-sized paintings anticipated the discoveries of the Fauves, for whom the subject was often merely a random pretext for work with form and colour. (SHM)