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EDOUARD VUILLARD: "Paintings and Works on Paper" and "Portraits Reconsidered"     Apr 11 - May 25, 2012


Jill Newhouse Gallery will present a selection of drawings, pastels, watercolors and paintings of all periods in the artist's work, as well as a focus-exhibition on the subject of four important late paintings. The earliest painting on view, La lampe à petrole (The Oil Lamp) dates from 1888, when Vuillard was only 20. Interior, Rue Saint-Honoré (Interior Rue Saint-Honoré) of 1893 is a perfect example of work from Vuillard's famous Nabi period and depicts his grandmother seated against the light in the family sitting room. A large scale painting of 1912, La Réunion de couture à Loctudy (The Sewing-Party at Loctudy), shows women in Vuillard's inner circle, gathering for a sewing party on the veranda of the artist's summer home in Brittany. Finally, four large paintings done in the 1930's show us Vuillard's late years and the portraiture for which he came under critical scrutiny. A special digital catalogue reconsiders and reevaluates these works as edgy, rebellious, and evocative of the writings of Marcel Proust. Works on paper from all periods will also be on view.

[From the catalogue:] "On February 13, 1923,...Vuillard dropped by the Hotel Meurice, where his old friend, Misia, was finishing a long lunch with Coco Chanel and Pierre Bonnard. It seems that Bonnard walked Vuillard back to the apartment Misia shared with her third husband, the Catalan painter, Josep Maria Sert. From Vuillard's brief journal entry, we know that Sert insisted then and there that Vuillard paint a portrait of Misia, which the painter commenced-seemingly against his will-in 1923..."

The resulting painting, called Les Tasses Noires (The Black Cups), was once labeled by Musée d'Orsay Director and Vuillard scholar Guy Cogeval a "perverse anti-portrait." This painting, a large preparatory study in distemper, and 113 preparatory drawings will be exhibited together for the first time, in a highly focused exhibition designed to complement the much larger retrospective of Vuillard's career opening in May at the Jewish Museum in New York.

[From the catalogue:] "To flatter was not Vuillard's aim, not because he COULDN'T flatter, but because he would rather tell the truth. His truths were told visually, and the results are often painful-like those told in the portraits of Giacometti or Soutine or Bacon or Freud. It is to this difficult modernity-modernity steeped in the past and unafraid of complexity-to which Vuillard makes such a compelling and important contribution. There is probably no other 20th century artist who more honestly-and more clinically-portrayed that anxious century in a great city that was, even in its own eyes, beginning a long, slow decline into a cluttered and infinitely interesting past."

Link to digital catalogue, with essay by Richard Brettell, "Thinking again about Vuillard's Late Portraits": www.jillnewhouse.com

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