NEW YORK, NY.- Jill Newhouse Gallery
presents a selection of drawings, pastels, watercolors and paintings of all periods in the artists work, as well as a focus-exhibition on the subject of 4 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 Vuillards 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 Vuillards inner circle, gathering for a sewing party on the veranda of the artists summer home in Brittany. Finally, four large paintings done in the 1930s show us Vuillards 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.
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 Vuillards brief journal entry, we know that Sert insisted then and there that Vuillard paint a portrait of Misia, which the painter commencedseemingly against his willin 1923
The resulting painting called Les Tasses Noires (The Black Cups) was once labeled by Musée dOrsay 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 Vuillards career opening in May at the Jewish Museum in New York.
To flatter was not Vuillards aim, not because he COULDNT flatter, but because he would rather tell the truth. His truths were told visually, and the results are often painfullike those told in the portraits of Giacometti or Soutine or Bacon or Freud. It is to this difficult modernitymodernity steeped in the past and unafraid of complexityto which Vuillard makes such a compelling and important contribution. There is probably no other 20th century artist who more honestlyand more clinicallyportrayed 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.
Works on paper from all periods are also on view. This exhibition complements the Jewish Museums show on Vuillard opening in May 2012.