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Édouard Vuillard: An Intimist

Édouard Vuillard – The Album – 1895 – Oil on Canvas - 26 3/4 x 80 1/2 in. (67.9 x 204.5 cm) – Metropolitan Museum of Art (click photo for larger image)French Symbolist painter Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) was a member of the Symbolist group known as Les Nabis (from the Hebrew and Arabic term for "prophets" and, by extension, the artist as the "seer" who reveals the invisible). However, he was less drawn to the mystical aspects of the group and more attracted to fashionable private venues, where philosophical discussions about poetry, music, theatre, and the occult occurred. Because of his preference for painting interior and domestic scenes, Vuillard is often referred to as an "intimist".

The work featured here is best described by the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

In 1894–95, Thadée and Misia Natanson commissioned from Vuillard a series of five decorative panels known collectively as "The Album." The unusual character of these works matched that of the Natansons' Paris apartment, a large open space adjoined by several small alcove areas. Its unconventional decor reflected Misia's taste, which was inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement. The apartment often served as an alternative office for Thadée's lively avant-garde journal, "La Revue blanche." Among the contributors to this influential publication were Claude Debussy, Léon Blum, Stéphane Mallarmé, and André Gide. The evocative Symbolist qualities of Mallarmé's poetry and Debussy's music find echoes in Vuillard's five panels, which take their name from this painting.

You can read more about the Symbolists and Vuillard on this site. Just search “Symbolists” and “Vuillard” and you find several articles of interest.

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