Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940)
Color lithograph on China paper, trial proof of undescribed early state
16 7/8 x 22 3/8 in. (42.9 x 56.8 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, in honor of Janet Ruttenberg, 2000 (2000.35)
In his multicolored prints of the late 1890s, made under the influence of the then-current wave of japonisme, Vuillard compressed three-dimensional space into sheets of pulsating hues. For most of his career, he was absorbed in the study of cozy interiors and the atmosphere exuded by their patterned wallpapers, drapes, and upholstery. Friends and family, who posed passively for the artist, were pictured in equilibrium with their household furnishings; bathed in indoor light, they often appear to dissolve into the decorative materials of their rooms.
Domestic intimacy thus became a sonorous theme in Vuillard's art, as it and its converse, domestic estrangement, were in the plays of Ibsen and Strindberg, for which he designed stage sets and playbills. Into his own life, drama arrived in the rosy form of his sister's newborn baby. Little Annette can be seen here: the pink spot at the center of a nest of eiderdown and familial affection.