Antoine Salomon will include this pastel in his forthcoming Vuillard catalogue raisonn.
Edouard Vuillard is perhaps best known for his talent for portraying the intimacy of daily life. While his subject matter remained a constant in the artist's work, his style altered at the turn of the century. It was at that time that the avant-garde Nabi group, in which he was a primary participant. Vuillard's stylistic change can be attributed in large part to new social connections. His daily life shifted from the theater and literary circles of the 1890s to the fashionable upper class milieu to which he was introduced by his dealers, the Bernheim brothers. They encouraged Vuillard to adapt his intimiste style to a more formal brand of portraiture, showing these new acquaintances in the intimacy of their elegant and elaborately-furnished homes.
In his double portrait Gabrielle Jonas et sa fille Irene Montanet, devant la chemine, Vuillard has transformed the interior decoration of the room into a heightened play of color that sets a mood of quiet ease and contentment. The loose, deftly-worked pastel surface of the work describes objects in detail and at the same time is infused with a warm, glowing light. As is noted in the catalogue essay from the 1964 Wildenstein exhibition, "... as simple as his subjects are, they are often overlaid with subtle states of feeling... There is something haunting in the objects he painted, most of they surely now scattered and lost, and the people he portrayed, already part of a swiftly retreating past."