Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Edouard Vuillard: "Conceive of / a picture..."



Après le repas : Edouard Vuillard, 1900: image by Montalcino, 2010 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

Conceive of

a picture


as a


of harmonies

File:Vuillard Vallotton chez les Natanson  1897.jpg

Vallotton chez les Natanson: Edouard Vuillard, 1897: image by Szczebrzeszynski, 2010 (Christie's)

"Conceive of / a picture...": Edouard Vuillard, Private Journal, 31 August 1890


Curtis Roberts said...

I've loved Vuillard's work since I first became aware of it a long time ago and today was an opportunity to reacquaint myself with it, as well as work by his Nabis compatriots, particularly Felix Vallotton. If I ever knew about things Vuillard wrote, I’d forgotten (although I remembered that he was a sympathetic and attractive person) and discovering some other journal entries added light to the day. As a jotting and a point of motivation and direction that doesn’t only apply to artists, I really liked: “Nothing is important save the spiritual state that enables one to subjectify one's thoughts to a sensation and to think only of the sensation, all the while searching to express it.” All the pictures are sensational, but Les Couturieres, with its tilted picture plane, really set up the piece and, for me, the day.

TC said...

What a wonderful picture. And he painted it at twenty-one.

I forget the auction price -- between five and six million, as I recall.


Yes, beautiful pictures Tom (I can see how Curtis's day was "set up" by Les Coutouriers. So life does continue, I will keep these (words and pictures) in mind today.

Curtis Roberts said...

You piqued my interest, so:

"From the Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale that took place on the 4th of Febuary 2009,

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Les couturiers, 1890: Sold for £6,537,250 against an estimate of £3.5-£5.5 million. No previous auction sale history."

The pounds vs. dollars distinction is, obviously, hereby noted. Heading off to bed now, mumbling.

TC said...


Yes, a memory chord reverberated "pounds not dollars" when I cited that price in the first place. I suppose I didn't want to admit to myself that the dollars would be ten million. Anything to protect the purity of the reputation of Vuillard. But of course as Vuillard spent the later stages of his career as a society painter, beautifully depicting the elaborated interiors of the haut monde, I am certain he would be proud and not ashamed that his work has achieved this level of value.

And indeed I would far rather have a ten million dollar Vuillard than a ten million dollar work by anybody else. Though I suppose there would then be all sorts of insurance worries and "Where to put the damn thing"s & c.

Once in Santa Barbara I had occasion to visit the home of a very successful brain surgeon who liked his art. Wandering the halls of the house I came upon a small studio/office the walls of which were thick with Vuillards. The real thing. I about fainted.

Curtis Roberts said...

I know. I found the price mind-blowing also and when I've occasionally attended big-deal auctions in New York, I tend to emerge speechless and uncomprehending. I'm sure also that Vuillard would be proud that the quality of his work is recognized in a number of ways. A Vuillard would be nice. And a Gris. A Corot. A Leger. A......