Edouard Vuillard Biography1868-1940
French Nabi Painter
Early years and education
Jean-Edouard Vuillard, the son of a retired captain, spent his youth at Cuiseaux (Saone-et-Loire); in 1878 his family moved to Paris in modest circumstances. After his father's death, in 1884, Vuillard received a scholarship to continue his education. In the Lycee Condorcet Vuillard met Ker Xavier Roussel (also a future painter and Vuillard's future brother in law), Maurice Denis, musician Pierre Hermant, writer Pierre Veber and Lugne-Poe. On Roussel's advice he refused a military career and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he met Pierre Bonnard.
In 1885, Vuillard left the Lycee Condorcet and joined his closest friend Roussel at the studio of painter Diogene Maillart. There, Roussel and Vuillard received the rudiments of artistic training.
Les Nabis and after
In 1888, Vuillard joined the Nabis and contributed to their exhibitions at the Gallery of Le Barc de Boutteville. Later he shared a studio with other fellow members of the Nabis, Pierre Bonnard and Maurice Denis. In the early 1890s he worked for the Theatre de l'Oeuvre of Lugne-Poe designing settings and programs.
In 1898 Vuillard visited Venice and Florence. The following year he made a trip to London. Later he went to Milan, Venice and Spain. Vuillard also traveled in Brittany and Normandy.
Vuillard first exhibited at the Salon des Independants of 1901 and at the Salon d'Automne in 1903. In the 1890s Vuillard met the brothers Alexandre and Thadee Natanson, the founders of the Revue Blanche, and in 1892 did on their advice his first decorations ("apartment frescoes") for the house of Mme Desmarais. Subsequently he fulfilled many other commissions of this kind: in 1894 for Alexandre Natanson, in 1898 for Claude Anet, in 1908 for Bernstein, and in 1913 for Bernheim and for the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. The last commissions he received date to 1937 (Palais de Chaillot in Paris, with Bonnard) and 1939 (Palais des Nations in Geneva, with Denis, Roussel and Chastel).
In his paintings and decorative pieces Vuillard depicted mostly the interiors, streets and gardens. Marked by a gentle humor, they are executed in the delicate range on soft, blurred colors characteristic of his art. Living with his mother, a dressmaker, until the age of sixty, Vuillard was very familiar with interior and domestic spaces. Much of his art reflected this influence, largely decorative and often depicting very intricate patterns. Vuillard died in La Baule in 1940.