In many of Edouard Vuillard's (1868-1940) most famous paintings, figures are nestled in intimate settings among bold patterns and colors. As the viewer's eye adjusts to the complexity of the scene, the artist's world opens up. At a young age, Vuillard was one of a group of avant-garde painters in Paris who favored rich palettes and dreamlike imagery. He was equally a member of the literary and theatrical circles that included writers like Marcel Proust and Stephane Mallarme. As his career progressed into the new century, he entered the rarefied society of upper-class French familiesmany of them Jewishwho collected the new art, published the new poetry, and wrote the new criticism. This beautifully illustrated book examines the master artist's work in the context of a unique circle of friends and patrons between the turn of the 20th century and World War II. Essays by leading scholars explore the artist's relationship with key members of this glamorous social circle, as well as the connections between Vuillard and Proust, two of the world's great observers of a world now lost. A fascinating exploration of artistic culture in Paris before the war, Edouard Vuillardestablishes the artist as one of the masters of the modern portrait.
Stephen Brown is assistant curator at The Jewish Museum, New York. Richard R. Brettell is the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair, Art and Aesthetics, University of Texas, Dallas, and director of its Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums. His books include French 19th-Century Painting in the Norton Simon Museum (Yale), and Monet in Normandy (Yale).