They shared this way of working with Symbolist authors and dramatists. In 1894, for instance, the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck described the ideal subjects of modern art as ‘a house lost in the country, an open door at the end of a corridor, a face or hands at rest.’
This was precisely the kind of subject matter Edouard Vuillard depicted in his quiet interiors, intensified through his use of colour, pattern and touch. As a result, the critic André Mellerio wrote, these works spoke ‘to the soul and not to the eye.’
Landscapes of the soul
In this way, a simple French canal like the ones we find in the lithograph landscapes of Charles-Marie Dulac, is transformed into a poetic landscape that can serve as the starting point for dreams and musings.
George L. Mauner, ‘The Nature of Nabi Symbolism’, The Art Journal 23 (1964), nr. 2, p. 96-103
Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Intime Welten. Das Interieur bei den Nabis. Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Bern 1999
Merel van Tilburg, ‘Des horizons infinis dans le cercle restreint d'intérieur’. Stimmung in Édouard Vuillards Decorative Paintings’, in Kerstin Thomas (red.), Stimmung: ästhetische Kategorie und künstlerische Praxis, Berlin/Munich 2010, p. 179-195