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Jean Edouard

Jean Edouard Vuillard (Fr. Jean-Édouard Vuillard; November 11, 1868, Cuizot — June 21, 1940, La Baule) - French post-impressionist painter, member of the artistic association "Nabi".

Features of the artist Jean Edouard Vuillard: in the Nabi art group, to which Vuillard belonged for some time, he was called "Intimate Nabi." He painted small portraits of his relatives, friends and patrons always surrounded - in the interiors, in gardens and parks. Details around a person (lamps, wallpaper, furniture, watches and mirrors) become part of the portrait of his inner world, these things reveal psychological traits and social relationships in a picture more often and clearly than a facial expression, which in Vuillard’s paintings can be hidden, indistinct, immersed in the shadow. Vuillard enthusiastically worked with color lithography, enriching the picturesque language with features characteristic of color printing. The picturesque panels, enormous in size and impressive in execution, which the artist wrote for the interiors of private houses, masterfully combine the decorative elements put in format with a bold artistic experiment.

Famous paintings by Jean Edouard Vuillard: "Album", "Square Wintimil", "Meals in the garden", “Interior, mother and sister of the artist”, "Landscapes and interiors", "Portrait of Mysii Nathanson".

Edouard Vuillard, shy and silent, charming and not very sociable, all his life found himself in the center of a stormy, avant-garde, bohemian, intellectual, crowded movement.

He was a favorite artist and close friend of influential rich people and bankers, art dealers and publishers, but he lived all his life as a bachelor, with his mother, in a modest apartment with wallpaper in flowers.

He loved to write women and children, leaving the role of polukomichnyh, semi-insane heroes to men in paintings. But Vuillard didn’t have his children, he only watched with admiration as his sister’s children grew up, and all his life hopelessly fell in love with rich, brilliant, married women.

He worked on huge decorative panels for the Theater on the Champs Elysees and the Palace of Nations, but he said that "the mind and feelings find the highest degree of novelty for some reason in familiar places."

The son of a dressmaker

Edouard Vuillard was 16 years old when his father, a retired captain, died. The family, and so not very rich, accustomed to a modest life, was left without a breadwinner. And then Madame Vuillard takes everything into her own hands: she opens a sewing workshop in the house, teaches her to sew and cut her younger daughter Marie. Noisy, elegant customers, bales of multicolored fabrics, needles, threads, patterns — young Vuillard will come to such a house every day after class. He received a scholarship to study at one of the most prestigious educational institutions in France - the Lycée Condorcet. Paul Valery, the brothers de Goncourt, Marcel Proust and Henri de Toulouse-LautrecThis is the first lyceum in France, which began to take on the training of girls. Here Vuillard meets Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard and Ker-Xavier Roussel. He will hold a whole year at the lyceum, but this friendship will last a lifetime and will be an important turning point from which Vuillard’s passion for painting begins.

Shy and prone to constant reflection, Edouard loves to be at home. For him, the house is a place where you can hide, think, recuperate, be yourself. Later he will say “I do not paint portraits, I paint people in their homes”. His best works will focus on the details of the interior no less, and sometimes deliberately more than on the features of the main figures. A man’s house is his continuation and an eloquent embodiment of temperament, occupation and worldview.

In 1855, Ker-Xavier Roussel leaves the lyceum to study painting and calls Vuillard with him. Within a year, the two of them will transfer from the private workshop to the Julian Academy. This rather conservative educational institution will give Vuyaru not many opportunities for the development of artistic flair and his own style, but he will again introduce people important to him.

Time of the prophets
In 1888 Paul Serusier, a fellow student and friend of Vuillard, meets Gauguin in Pont-Avens and receives from him the most enlightening painting lesson. Upon his return, he is ready to change contemporary art - and begins with friends. Séruzier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Vuillard unite in the group “Nabi” (translated from ancient Hebrew “prophets”), they talk about new painting, read symbolist poets and ancient texts, hold the first exhibitions.

For Vuillard, this last decade of the 19th century turns out to be the most significant: he writes small paintings in which he experiments with flat spots of saturated color, with decorative patterns in interiors, with a distorted, flattened perspective, with tempera and cardboard, he co-founded the new symbolist theater Théâtre de l'Oeuvre in Place de Clichy, for which he creates sets, costumes and programs. Finally, Vuillard finds himself on an environment that will become his main source of inspiration and commercial success. The Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones calls Vuillard "Gauguin who stayed at home." Vuillard finds his exoticism and his Polynesia in Paris - in the beautiful houses of rich, free-thinking, beautiful people. In a world that until now was inaccessible to the humble son of a seamstress.

At this time, the artist writes a huge mural for decorating fashionable living rooms in which writers, publishers, theater directors gather. He makes illustrations for the avant-garde magazine La Revue Blanche, becomes a close friend and a regular guest at the house of his publisher Tade Nathanson and all these years has been hopelessly in love with his wife Mission. He writes a lot of Mysia - but her taste, unique style, the things around her influence even those works of Vuillard in which Mysia does not exist. He buys a camera and takes pictures of Mysia at home, in a country house, at the piano and in the garden.

When his main muse is divorced from Tade, and then two more times we will be married, she will write a book of memoirs. From the time when Vuillard practically lived in her house, she would recall one evening walk: “Solemn and dreamy, Vuillard led me along the river, past high silver birch trees. It seems we did not speak. He slowly moved through the yellowed grass, and I unconsciously respected his silence. Our silhouettes were just shadows against a pale sky. The earth was getting rough under our feet. I caught my foot on the root of the tree and almost fell. Vuillard stopped to catch me. Suddenly our eyes met. In the rising darkness, I could only see the glint of his sad eyes. And then he burst into tears. It was the most beautiful declaration of love I ever heard from a man. ”.

Gallery time
Since the beginning of the XX century, Edouard Vuillard signed a contract with one of the largest Parisian galleries owned by the Bernheim-Zhen brothers. One of the partners of the gallery, Jos Hessel takes Vuillard in his house and becomes a life-long patron and friend. This does not prevent Vuyaru fall in love with his wife Lucy. However, this novel to Hessel himself (Vuillard's biographers have no doubt that it was the novel that formed this time, and not evening walks) also does not interfere at all.

In European art, a new era is coming: cubism, Fauvism, abstract painting obscure those ideas of nabids, which they did not even have time to utter and outgrow. Vuillard returns to his work a competent perspective, takes something from the Impressionists, carefully, manicly accurately supplies the paintings with fine details. Perhaps under the influence of photography, which he seriously carried away and which he uses as sketches.

Up to 60 years old Edouard lives with her mother, until her death. Having replaced rich patrons of living rooms with very rich new patrons of living rooms, he himself continues to live very modestly, cannot get used to the number of zeros in the prices of his works, carefully keeps a diary, often visiting his sister and Ker-Xavier Roussel, who became her husband, adores nephews.

During the First World War, Vuillard did not serve as a caretaker of the railway station for very long, and then as a military artist. He is experiencing the death of Paul Serusier, and even harder - the beginning of World War II. When the German army enters Paris in 1940, Vuillard will leave the city and die of a heart attack in a week, at the hands of Hessels, who in the past few decades were his strange main family.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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