Van Gogh Museum acquires painting 'The Mumps' by Vuillard

Van Gogh Museum acquires painting 'The Mumps' by Vuillard

13 October 2011

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Oreillons/The Mumps (1892-1893), Van Gogh Museum, AmsterdamThe Van Gogh Museum has enriched its collection with The Mumps (1892-93) by Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), the first painting by this artist in its collection. Museum director Axel Rüger comments, 'This small, powerful painting from Vuillard's peak years shows an intimate domestic interior. This classic Nabis subject, combined with a characteristically disorienting play of patterns and the work's original, unvarnished condition, makes The Mumps an exceptional acquisition.

The painting is a valuable addition to the Van Gogh Museum's Nabis collection, which includes numerous prints and two other paintings by Nabis artists, one by Maurice Denis and one by Pierre Bonnard. Additional purchases of paintings by artists from the Nabis group are one of the priorities in our collection policy.' The Mumps will be on display from 14 October 2011 to 8 January 2012 as part of the exhibition Snapshot: Painters and Photography, 1888-1915, after which it will become part of the museum's permanent collection.

The Mumps
In The Mumps, Vuillard depicts an interior with a woman in profile, who has a cloth knotted around her head. The woman is Vuillard's sister Marie, with whom he and his mother shared an apartment in Paris. The French title of the work, Les Oreillions, explains the piece of fabric knotted around Marie’s head: she has the mumps.
The Mumps was painted in 1892-1893, at the pinnacle of Vuillard's artistic career, and shows an intimate domestic interior, a decidedly Nabis theme. Vuillard alternates areas of colour with exuberant patterns, making little distinction between the interior and the human figure. That gives the work great abstract value. Because the oil paint on cardboard is in its original, unvarnished state, The Mumps still has the characteristic matt paint surface intended by Vuillard. Axel Rüger speaks of 'an exceptional combination of factors that makes this a very worthwhile acquisition.'

A valuable addition
This acquisition is also exceptional in that intimate paintings from Vuillard's artistic peak are rarely on the market. The Mumps is an ideal complement to the Van Gogh Museum's large collection of prints by Vuillard and a worthy addition to the other two Nabis paintings in the collection: The Two Sisters by Maurice Denis and Montmartre in the Rain by Pierre Bonnard.

Since there are only two other Vuillard paintings in Dutch public collections, this is a major purchase at a national level as well. The painting was acquired with the van Gogh Museum’s private means, as well as financial support from the museum’s private donors, The Yellow House.

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940). Oreillons / De bof, 1892 - 1893 oil on carton, 24 cm x 20 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

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