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    Sale 7562

    Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

    4 February 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 18

    Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

    La maison suisse

    Price Realised  

    Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
    La maison suisse
    signed 'E Vuillard' (lower right)
    oil on board
    15 3/8 x 23 3/8 in. (39.2 x 59.4 cm.)
    Painted in 1900

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    Painted in 1900, La maison suisse is an absorbing landscape that combines a sense of the outdoors with the Nabi intimisme so distinctive of Vuillard's works until the early 1900s. This picture shows a house called La Longeraie, at Romanel in Switzerland; the house was rented that year by Paul Vallotton, an art dealer and the brother of the painter Félix Vallotton, with whom Vuillard was staying.

    Vallotton was holidaying at his family's house, Château de la Naz, near Lausanne. Of all the artists linked to the Nabis, Vallotton was one of the most peripheral, keeping a distance, interesting himself in an increasingly arcane range of subjects including Rosicrucianism that isolated him to some degree from the other artists in the group yet still occasionally exhibiting with them. His main contact with the Nabis was through Vuillard, and it was through this friendship that the artists were staying with each other. In La maison suisse, the influence of this friendship can be seen in the flattened forms of the landscape, which recall Vallotton's own paintings. Yet the composition, the gentle colourism and the absorbing sense of shelter, of twilight, of the faintly bruised pink of the sky, are all Vuillard's own, as is the composition, which has an informality that hints at the vast importance that photography had for the painter. Indeed, taking a cue from photography, Vuillard managed to introduce an air of spontaneity to his paintings, an impression of a real stolen moment captured through the intense subjectivity and Synthetist palette of his Nabi style. La maison suisse thus invokes, at the same time, memory, Symbolism and verisimilitude.

    The theme of the landscape in this picture perhaps already shows the influence of some of the other guests at Vallotton's home, the Hessels. Although it seems that Vuillard had met Joseph, or 'Jos', Hessel and his wife some time earlier, this was the first time that the painter spent any significant amount of time with the couple in whose orbit he would remain for so much of the rest of his life. In Vuillard's portraits, interiors and landscapes from this time onwards, the Hessels, their friends and their homes would feature again and again, reflecting the importance of both Jos, the first director of the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, and Lucy, who would become Vuillard's model, muse and mentor. It is telling that, after passing through the hands of the legendary Glaswegian dealer Alex Reid, whose portrait had been painted by his friend Van Gogh, the picture was in fact acquired by Jos Hessel.

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    Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, by whom acquired from the artist on 10 October 1900 (no. 10934).
    Alex Reid, Glasgow, by 1919.
    Jos Hessel, Paris.
    Jean Laroche, Paris.
    Jacques Laroche, Paris, circa 1938.
    Acquired by the father of the present owner circa 1949.

    Pre-Lot Text



    R. Escholier, La peinture française. Vingtième siècle, Paris, 1937 (illustrated p. 22).
    A. Salomon & G. Cogeval, Vuillard: Le regard innombrable, catalogue critique des peintures et pastels, vol. II, Paris, 2003, no. VIII-9 (illustrated p. 833).


    Le Havre, Hôtel de Ville, Cercle de l'art moderne, 2e exposition, May - June 1907, no. 71.
    Prague, Cercle Artistique Mánes, Francouzstí Impressionisté (XXIII. Vystava), October - November 1907, no. 97.
    Paris, Bernheim-Jeune, Vuillard: panneaux décoratifs, pastels, portraits, peintures à l'huile, February 1908, no. 33.
    Zurich, Kunsthaus, VIII Französische Impressionisten, October - November 1908, no. 101.
    Brussels, Musée de Peinture Moderne, La libre esthétique: L'évolution du paysage, March - April 1910, no. 193.
    Budapest, Ernst-Museum, A XIX Század Nagy Francia Mesterei, September - October 1913, no. 64.
    Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Edouard Vuillard, May - July 1938, no. 97.
    Basel, Kunsthalle, Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Charles Hug, March - May 1949, no. 22.
    Neuchâtel, Le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Neuchâtel, Les collections Neuchâteloises, April - May 1956, no. 186 (titled 'Le Mont-sur-Lausanne').