Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
1 More
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
4 More
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism

Jane Renouardt

Jane Renouardt
signed 'E Vuillard' (lower left)
oil on canvas
51 ¼ x 38 5/8 in. (130.1 x 98.5 cm.)
Painted in 1926-1927
Jane Renouardt, Saint-Cloud (commissioned from the artist, 13 July 1927); Estate sale, Palais Galliéra, Paris, 2 June 1972, lot 31.
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (acquired at the above sale).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 23 January 2004.
L. Dordoré, "D'Ingres à Picasso" in L'amour de l'art, June 1928, vol. IX, no. 7, p. 262 (illustrated).
A. Alexandre, "Portraits et figures de femmes: Ingres à Picasso" in La renaissance de l'art français, July 1928, vol. XI, no. 7, p. 264, no. 177 (illustrated, p. 283).
G.J. Gros, "Les grands collectionneurs, Jane Renouardt" in L'art vivant, 1 July 1928, p. 930, no. 85 (illustrated, pp. 510 and 931).
Le Figaro, supplément artistique hebdomadaire, 7 March 1929, no. 223 (illustrated on the cover).
R. Rey, "Le nouveau Musée du Luxembourg" in Bulletin des musées de France, March 1929, vol. I, no. 3, p. 44 (illustrated, p. 43).
R. Rey, "Musée du Luxembourg, le portrait de Romain Coolus par Édouard Vuillard" in Bulletin des Musées de France, May 1930, vol. II, no. 5, p. 101.
J. Salomon, Vuillard: Temoignage de Jacques Salomon, Paris, 1945, pp. 68 and 143-144, note 12.
C. Roger-Marx, Vuillard et son temps, Paris, 1946, p. 94 (illustrated, p. 103).
G. Charensol, "Vuillard" in Médecines et peintures: Vuillard, Paris, 1955, no. 76 (illustrated, pl. III).
J. Salomon, Vuillard admiré, Paris, 1961, p. 160 (illustrated in color, p. 161).
P. Cabanne, Lecture pour tous, January 1964, no. 121, p. 85.
J. Salomon, Vuillard, Paris, 1968, pp. 159 and 219 (illustrated in color, p. 158).
P. Ciaffa, The Portraits of Edouard Vuillard, Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1985, vol. II, pp. 305-306 (illustrated, fig. 166).
S. Day, "Villa Renouardt, Saint-Cloud" in Louis-Süe, architectures, Liège, 1986, p. 130 (illustrated).
J.-P. Bouillon, Journal de l'art déco, 1903-1940, Geneva, 1988, p. 193 (illustrated, p. 194).
A. Dumas and G. Cogeval, Vuillard, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, 1990, pp. 178 and 190 (illustrated in color, p. 117).
G. Cogeval, Vuillard: Post-Impressionist Master, New York, 2002, p. 109 (illustrated in color).
B. Thomson, "Exhibition Reviews: Edouard Vuillard, Washington" in Burlington Magazine, April 2003, vol. CXLV, no. 1201, p. 316.
J. Claire, "Visite à Vuillard" in L'Oeil, September 2003, no. 550, p. 47.
G. Groom, "La modernite à pas feutrés" in Dossiers de l'art, hors série, October 2003, no. 100, p. 63 (illustrated in color, p. 62).
A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, Vuillard, Le regard innombrable: Catalogue critique des peintures et pastels, Paris, 2003, vol. II, p. 1122 and vol. III, pp.1298, 1440-1441 and 1516, no. XI-258 (illustrated in color, p. 1440; detail illustrated in color on the cover and p. 1294).
Paris, Galerie La Renaissance, Portraits et figures de femmes: Ingres à Picasso, June 1928, p. 26, no. 177.
Paris, Musée National du Luxembourg (on extended loan, 1929-1972).
Paris, Musée National du Luxembourg, Exposition inaugurale des salles nouvelles et réorganisées, March 1929, p. 31, no. 7.
Paris, Musée National du Luxembourg, Peinture française, June 1933, no. 66.
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent portraits de femmes du XVe siècle à nos jours, 1950, no. 98a.
Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, Vuillard, August-September 1977, no. 44 (illustrated in color).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yves Saint Laurent, December 1983-September 1984, p. 16.
New York, The Frick Collection, Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville, November 1985-February 1986, pp. 121 and 123, no. 115 (illustrated, p. 123, fig. 109).
Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts, The Time of the Nabis, August-November 1998, p. 73, no. 194 (illustrated in color, p. 85).
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais and London, Royal Academy of Arts, Edouard Vuillard, January 2003-April 2004, pp. 357 and 365, no. 319 (illustrated, p. 387).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Brought to you by

Adrien Meyer
Adrien Meyer Global Head, Private Sales, Co-Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art

Lot Essay

The rich, densely patterned paintings of Edouard Vuillard’s early avant-garde period were created during his association with the small group of artists that formed around Paul Sérusier and Maurice Denis. Known privately as the “Nabis” (Hebrew for “prophet”), these artists followed Paul Gauguin’s anti-naturalism, returning to what they viewed as painting’s decorative origins. From 1889 until roughly 1900, Vuillard’s paintings evince the Nabi’s focus on the inherent flatness of the picture plane, eschewing illusionistic depth in favor of emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the canvas. By 1900 Vuillard’s claustrophobic renditions of the domestic interior broadened in both subject and form, influenced by his expanding social sphere and the natural landscape. For the next forty years genre scenes of the haute bourgeoisie dominated his oeuvre, and after the First World War he became a highly coveted society portraitist, painting theater mavens and captains of industry alike. Vuillard’s portrait of Jane Renouardt captures the well-known actress seated in the luxurious space of her bathroom, painted with brilliant colors and a spatial complexity that both evoke and surpass his Nabis production.
Renouardt (born Louise Renouardi) gained fame through her performances in music halls and Boulevard theater productions. She commissioned this portrait soon after the renovation of her villa in Saint-Cloud, a western suburb of Paris. The design firm Süe et Mare (led by Louis Süe and André Mare) arranged Renouardt’s home in the Art Deco style, including the opulent furnishing and etched glass mirrors seen in the present work. The décor’s lavish allure is apparent even in the bathroom, where the actress—garbed in a resplendent gown—rests upon a leopard-print chaise, surrounded by sumptuous drapery. Vuillard captured the richness and variety of textures within this confined space, from the smooth mirrored glass to the tactility of the fabrics. According to Jacques Salomon, Vuillard originally intended to pose Renouardt in the living room. Renouardt, chilled in her low-cut ballgown, suggested repairing to the warmest room in the house: the bathroom. The confines of the space meant that Vuillard painted her portrait while seated in the bathtub. Salomon recounts Vuillard’s rendition of this event: “Laughing, with that sort of ingenuity which contrasted so much with his usually serious air, Vuillard told me that, to gain some ground, the day before he chose to sit on the edge of the bathtub ... ‘but today,’ he continued, ‘I stepped into the tub with a stool!’” (Vuillard admiré, Paris, 1961, p. 160).
The attention Vuillard lavishes on Renouardt’s setting recalls Edmond Duranty’s La Nouvelle peinture (1876), the so-called “Impressionist Manifesto” much admired by the artist. Duranty argues that modern painting must site people within the realities they inhabit: “we no longer separate the personage from the background of an apartment or street. A person never appears in life against neutral, empty or vague backgrounds. But around them and behind them are pieces of furniture, chimneypieces, wall hangings, a partition, which express an estate, a class, an occupation.” (quoted in S. Brown, Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940, exh. cat., The Jewish Museum, New York, 2012, pp. 29-31). Duranty’s call reverberates through Vuillard’s paintings: in his portrait of the art critic Théodore Duret (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) Vuillard depicts Duret surrounded by stacks of books and papers, and flanked by framed paintings—including the reflected image of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Flesh Color and Black: Portrait of Théodore Duret (1883-1884)—all markers of the sitter’s professional life. Renouardt’s surrounds emphasize her glamour, while the myriad mirrored reflections suggest that the actress’s appearance was an integral aspect of her occupation.
Vuillard’s early Nabis interiors are imbued with psychological tension: the collapsing space and unrelenting use of pattern can feel oppressive, as the artist confined his figures to the almost nonexistent space between fore- and background. From roughly 1905, as commissioned works and portraits increasingly dominated Vuillard’s oeuvre, the artist allowed the space in his images to expand. This created a new compositional complexity often—as in the present work—augmented by the introduction of mirrors. Jane Renouardt makes use of mirrors to both magnify and distort space. Renouardt seems surrounded by reflective surfaces, which present not one but three images of the actress. This playful approach veers towards the vertiginous, the true position of the mirrors disguised by cobwebs of draped fabric. As André Chastel asserts: “There is in Vuillard an entire poetry of the mirror…[mirrors] bring a vivid and singular note into these interiors. Depth is inverted, the light must be divined, space is suggested from behind…” (quoted in S. Brown, exh. cat., op. cit., 2012, p. 71). Renouardt herself was entranced by the mirrored effects, writing to Vuillard: “I dream of your painting, and I am going to admire it every day when I return home. The effect of the engraved mirror is marvelous” (quoted in J. Russell, “Ingres’s Portrait of a Lady is the Mirror of an Age” in Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville, exh. cat., op. cit., 1985, p. 123).
Vuillard found inspiration in the art on view at the Musée du Louvre: the interiors of seventeenth-century Dutch masters such as Johannes Vermeer, and what he deemed the simple pleasure of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin’s genre scenes. Perhaps his most direct citation in Jane Renouardt, however, is that of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s Portrait de la Comtesse d'Haussonville (The Frick Collection, New York). Renouardt’s contemplative pose, chin resting softly upon fingertips, recalls that of Ingres’s Comtesse. Jean-Léon Gérôme, Vuillard’s instructor during the latter’s short term at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, similarly employs this posture in his Portrait d'une femme (The Art Institute of Chicago). In the present work, Vuillard has modernized this position, conveying neither the innocence of Ingres’s work nor the gravity of Gérôme’s, but rather a wry sophistication.
The allure of Renouardt’s insouciant ease is underscored by the inclusion of the present work in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York's 1983 Yves Saint Laurent retrospective. A keen art collector, Saint Laurent owned several Vuillards; his focus on space, color and texture find a “special affinity” with the artist (J.R. Druesedow, Yves Saint Laurent, exh. cat., op. cit., 1983, p. 5).

More from The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism, Evening Sale

View All
View All