Edouard Vuillard – The French Painter and Printmaker

The illustrious career of French painter & printmaker Edouard Vuillard spanned the fin de siècle (the end of the nineteenth century), during which he created over 3,000 paintings. Jean-Edouard Vuillard was born on November 11, 1868, at Cuiseaux, France to a defense personnel's family. In 1878, Vuillards shifted to Paris, where his father died in 1883. After his father's death, the artist got academic scholarship, which helped him with his education. His mother took up dressmaking for compliance, while his older sister, Marie, taught Vuillard to read.

Vuillard attended the Lycee Condorcet, where he met French painters Ker Xavier Roussel and Maurice Denis. Edouard left Lycee in 1885, to join the studio of painter Diogène Maillart, where he received his initial art training. In 1886, on Roussel's suggestion, Edouard Vuillard chose Ecole des Beaux-Arts, instead of joining forces. Here, he met the artist Pierre Bonnard.

Vuillard lived with his mother through her life. The initial dressmaking environment helped groom his awareness of patterns and textures. Initially, Vuillard used the conventional oil on canvas, focusing his attention upon the ornate angle of painting, creating warm, colorful mediums without any illusionary depth. The majority of Vuillard's paintings were small, apt for intense domestic interior decor, patterned in sober, interacting colors with figures indistinguishable from the furnishings.

In 1888, Vuillard joined the Nabis, formed by Serusier and named after 'the Prophets' of Hebrew. Bonnard contributed to their exhibitions at the Gallery of Le Barc de Boutteville. Les Nabis preferred pure creativity and colors to 'Naturalism.' Vuillard left the Nabis in mid-1890s, growing closer to 'Impressionism' with his work consisting of domestic scenes, known as the 'Intimistes.' In 1891, Vuillard started a studio in partnership with Bonnard and Denis. In 1900, with their momentum gone, the Nabis disintegrated.

Vuillard first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1901 and then at Salon d'Automne in 1903. In the 1890s, he met the founders of the Revue Blanche, completing his first apartment frescoes for 'Mme Desmarais' in 1892. He then worked for many others, such as 'Alexandre Natanson' (1894) and 'Bernheim' (1913). Edouard Vuillard also worked on the "Théâtre des Champs-Elysées" in 1913, with his last assignments being at the "Palais de Chaillot," Paris (1937) and "Palais des Nations (League of Nations)", Geneva (1939). (1892), "Woman in Blue with Child (Mother and Child)," "Le Déjeuner à Villeneuve-sur-Yonne" (1902), and "Figure in front of a Window with Drawn Curtains "(1891).

The later part of Edouard's life centered on the portraiture of famous personalities. Owing to his 'pre-Intimiste' style, Vuillard is also considered a vanguard of 'Art Nouveau.' He died on June 21, 1940, at La Baule, Atlantic coast.