Magnificent peonies, at the point of wilting, have been arranged on a mantelpiece in front of a mirror. Depicted vividly in a matt paint, their deep red hue draws the eye and contrasts with the pale blue and luminous yellow that dominate the work. Here, Édouard Vuillard has reinterpreted the painted bouquet of flowers freely.
However, he is less interested in the bouquet itself than in the way that its curling stems enable him to upset the composition, punctuated by the rectilinear forms of the mantelpiece, the mirror, or the bay window reflected in it. The artist chose to open this window onto a garden flooded with light, which is the true subject of the picture. It is more than a representation of a simple indoor scene and is part of the artist’s research into light and colors, on which he embarked in about 1900.