1899, Edouard Vuillard (1868 - 1940)
lithograph in five colours on China paper,
39 cm x 30.7 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Édouard Vuillard focused on patterns in his work, drawing inspiration – like many of his contemporaries – from Japanese printmaking. Japanese prints are highly ordered, however, whereas this fragment of interiors consists almost entirely of a decorative jumble of stipples and lines. The person, furniture and the pink wallpaper merge seamlessly with one another. This heightens the energy of the print, in which you constantly see new things: what looks at first like wallpaper turns out on closer viewing to be someone’s clothes.
This is probably the interior of the apartment where Vuillard lived with his family. The intimate, homely atmosphere is a recurring feature of his prints and paintings. The glimpses of people absorbed in their everyday routine heighten the sense of domesticity.
The print comes from Paysages et intérieurs, a series of twelve lithographs. In addition to interiors, Vuillard designed several city views and landscapes for it. The album was commissioned by the art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard, who had an edition of 100 printed. It was not a commercial success, however, and Vollard eventually sold the prints off individually. All the same, the album is a highlight of late-nineteenth-century printmaking.