This painting will be included in the forthcoming Vuillard catalogue raisonné being prepared by Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval and being published by the Wildenstein Institute, Paris.
Elève dans le Louvre is part of a group of interior views that Vuillard painted around 1915-1917 in which he used friends as models, placed in settings such as the Louvre museum, an artist's studio or the library or sitting-room of a private home. It is likely that the model for the present painting is either Lucie Hessel, wife of the art dealer Jos who ran Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, or his niece Annette Roussel, daughter of his close friend and fellow painter Ker-Xavier Roussel. Painted in 1915-1916 it distinguishes itself from his earlier small-scale intimiste paintings by its larger format. As Vuillard encountered an increased demand for portraiture, his interiors became less stylized in the Nabi manner and the figures tended to assume more natural proportions within the rooms they occupied. Many of the paintings followed a similar format of superimposing a large, dark figure against a colorful patterned backdrop created by paintings, books or wallpaper. He used a palette that featured a predominantly dark key that he balanced with judiciously placed areas of bright color and touches of white. As a young art student Vuillard had spent many hours studying and copying the Old Master paintings in the Louvre and Belinda Thomson has suggested that the Louvre paintings be understood as statements of French artistic heritage (B. Thomson, Vuillard, Oxford, 1988, p. 139).