Édouard Vuillard: La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré (1895)

edouard_vuillard_la_balayeuse_346_rue_saint-honore) jpg (JPEG Image, 3200 × [...]
La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré (1895) by Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), signed ‘E Vuillard’ (upper right), oil on board laid down on cradled panel, 13 x 20 in., Source: Christie’s

Living at Work: 1891-1896

Painted in 1895, the year when Vuillard and the Hessels first met, this scene takes place in the [Vuillard] family apartment at 346 Rue Saint-Honoré… The Vuillard family lived there from 1891 to 1896… Vuillard’s mother, who struggled with recurrent financial difficulties, turned it into a dual living and working space by setting up a clothing workshop inside the apartment. Source: Christie’s

Gilles Genty, historien de l’art
8edouard_vuillard_la_balayeuse_346_rue_saint-honore) jpg (JPEG Image, 3200 × [...]
La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré (1895) by Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), signed ‘E Vuillard’ (upper right), oil on board laid down on cradled panel, 13 x 20 in., Source: Christie’s (detail).

Pick Up Your Mess, Édouard!

In this example of genre art, which resonates the Dutch painters Vuillard loved to admire in the Louvre, we see the household transition from one activity to another. The tablecloth, which is slung across the chair in the foreground, is ready to dress the table for a family dinner. This intimate space where the theatre of daily life unfolds becomes the main subject of Vuillard’s painting. Is this a coincidence? The painter is perhaps pretending to have forgotten a painting, whose frame we can see in the centre of the image. Source: Christie’s

Gilles Genty, historien de l’art
7edouard_vuillard_la_balayeuse_346_rue_saint-honore) jpg (JPEG Image, 3200 × [...]
La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré (1895) by Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), signed ‘E Vuillard’ (upper right), oil on board laid down on cradled panel, 13 x 20 in., Source: Christie’s, (detail)

Just like Vermeer (and even more so), Vuillard has simplified the action, the costumes, and the setting. There’s no velvet, fur, or pearls—not even a smile. All trace of wealth or even material comfort has disappeared” (C. Roger-Marx, Vuillard et son temps, Paris, 1946, p. 51-52).

Source: Christie’s, Gilles Genty, historien de l’art
4edouard_vuillard_la_balayeuse_346_rue_saint-honore) jpg (JPEG Image, 3200 × [...]
La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré (1895) by Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), signed ‘E Vuillard’ (upper right), oil on board laid down on cradled panel, 13 x 20 in., Source: Christie’s, (detail)

The Path Towards Fauvism

Art historian Gilles Genty explains one part of Edouard Vuillard’s legacy:

We can understand what a young Henri Matisse, a huge admirer (and collector) of Vuillard, took away from these visual strategies. Following in Vuillard’s footsteps, Matisse described this subtle chromatic balance (the distribution of white spots, the repetition of red, and the echoes of orange) as a purely emotional “definitive touch”—one that later put him on the path towards Fauvism. Source: Christie’s

Gilles Genty, historien de l’art

Read entire catalogue entry here: Christie’s

Click for Enlarged Detail:

Slideshow best viewed At Sunnyside

Details:

  • La balayeuse, 346 rue Saint-Honoré
  • Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), French
  • signed ‘E Vuillard’ (upper right)
  • oil on board laid down on cradled panel
  • 13 x 20 in.
  • Painted in 1895
  • Image Source: Christie’s
  • All quoted text attributed to Gilles Genty, art historian from  Christie’s.

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