Édouard Vuillard


Femme dans un Parc –Woman in a Park, around 1898/1899
Distemper on canvas / 188 x 85 cm
Signed on lower right: E. Vuillard
Inv. no. Ma1962,56 / Purchased in 1962 with financial support
from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

The themes of the intimate and familiar were specialties of Édouard Vuillard throughout his career. Alongside the depiction of interiors he was interested in the city landscapes of Paris. At the center of this painting an elegant lady has turned away from the viewer. Her striped blouse and dark skirt stand out from the leaves in the background which are painted in dabs. Unlike the girl in the dark green dress nestled up closely to the woman, the remaining figures in the painting are shown only schematically. Whether the work was part of a decorative cycle or an autonomous painting is not certain. The truncated figures may have been continued on neighboring panels. Here they represent a moment of motion and impermanence in forceful contrast to the calm and durability of the woman and child at the center. The ornamental style and the narrow vertical format recall the flatly decorative works of the Nabis and the inspiration they got from the scroll paintings of Japanese art. But unlike the works of the Nabis “Woman in a Park” with its suggestion of depth and relaxed painting style anticipates Vuillard’s freer, post-Impressionist late work.