Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

Roses dans un pichet

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Roses dans un pichet
signed 'E. Vuillard' (lower left)
oil on canvas
17 x 18½ in. (43.2 x 47 cm.)
Painted circa 1905
A. Leroy, Paris.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 30 March 1949, lot 36.
Fernand and Beatrice Leval, New York (acquired at the above sale); Estate sale, Christie's, New York, 5 May 2005, lot 202.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, Vuillard, Le Regard innombrable, Catalogue critique des peintures et pastels, Paris, 2003, vol. II, p. 890, no. VIII-128 (illustrated).
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Masterpieces in Bloom, April-May 1973, no. 68.

Lot Essay

Roses dans un pichet dates to 1905, following the disbandment of the Nabi group with which Vuillard had been intimately involved since its genesis in 1889. At the turn of the Twentieth century, Vuillard abandoned the depiction of forms and colors reduced to their simplest forms, which had been the hallmark of the Nabi movement, in favor of richly patterned interiors in often domestic environments. The son of a dressmaker and a lifelong bachelor with strong ties to the female members of his family, Vuillard possessed a lifelong fascination with textiles and the depiction of textured fabrics, wallpapers, and carpets.

Whereas Vuillard's interiors of the late 1890s had a more subdued color palette, by 1905 his painted oeuvre had become much brighter and lighter in tone. The lack of regard for spatial constraints as well as the sense of confinement which had characterized his Nabi works had given way to greater openness and a heightened attention to the visual qualities of physical objects. At the turn of the century, Vuillard had begun to show at the highly noteworthy Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, and was later contracted to the gallery. His involvement with the Bernheim brothers allowed him access to a wealthy clientele and some of the most opulently appointed homes in all of Paris.

With its decadently patterned wallpaper, quick brushstrokes, and the lively palette of the blooms in the foreground, Roses dans un pichet is a quintessential example of the still lifes to which Vuillard devoted much of his attention in the early 1900s. The extreme corner of a table is visible at left, illustrating the painter's preference for asymmetrical compositions and disregard for conventional perspectives. Of his interior paintings, Vuillard's friend Paul Signac remarked in his diary that "[Vuillard's] deftly noted interiors have great charm. He has a marvelous understanding of the timbre of things. They're the work of a fine painter...The contrast of tone, the skillfully achieved chiaroscuro--these balance a scheme of color which...is always unusual and delicate" (quoted in J. Rewald, "Diaries of Paul Signac," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, April 1952).

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