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Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
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Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

Portrait de Mademoiselle Jacqueline Fontaine, Étude

Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Portrait de Mademoiselle Jacqueline Fontaine, Étude
pastel and watercolour on paper laid down on canvas
62¼ x 46 in. (158.1 x 116.7 cm.)
Executed in 1911 and reworked in 1932
Jos Hessel, Paris, by 30 June 1932.
Arthur Rubenstein, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale, Galerie Motte, 19 June 1965, lot 46 (illustrated).
Acquired at the above sale by M. & Mme. François.
C. Roger-Marx, Vuillard et son temps, Paris, 1946, p. 91 (illustrated p. 100).
C. Schweicher, Bildraumgestaltung, das Dekorative und das Ornamentale im Werke von Edouard Vuillard, diss., University of Zurich, 1949, pp. 49-50 & 79.
J. Salomon, Auprès de Vuillard, Paris, 1953, p. 34 (illustrated p. 35).
A. Salomon & G. Cogeval, Vuillard, Critical Catalogue of Paintings and Pastels, vol. II, Paris, 2003, no. IX-170 (illustrated p. 1118).
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, La Vie familiale, scènes et portraits, February - April 1944, no. 146 (illustrated).
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Lot Essay

Portrait de Jacqueline Fontaine is the final study for the larger oil, Mademoiselle Jacqueline Fontaine, 1911-1912 (Salomon & Cogeval no. IX-171; Private collection, Switzerland). Jacqueline was the daughter of the industrialist and noted art patron Arthur Fontaine. Jacqueline had first been painted as a child by Maurice Denis in 1895, and later by Vuillard in The Piano Lesson (Salomon & Cogeval VII-304), where she sat with her mother.

Fontaine commissioned Vuillard to execute a portrait of his teenage daughter in the spring of 1911. The portrait took nine months to complete, as the artist struggled to achieve the full monumentality of a full frontal portrait, which he had not attempted since 1893, when he had painted his mother and sister in a similar pose (ibid., p. 1119). As he noted in his diaries, 'In a quandary regarding Jacqueline [...], don't know how to tackle it [...] letter from Fontaine, lunch with Maman, unable to hide my despair. Het up' (quoted ibid.). Vuillard finally solved the problem by painting Jacqueline from life, which Salomon and Cogeval note was particularly unusual for the painter, who typically painted alone in his studio from drawings and notes.

Whilst the final version of the portrait went to the Fontaine family, the present work remained in the artist's studio until 1932, when the artist reworked it before selling it to Jos Hessel.

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