Edouard Vuillard
(Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, 1868-1940, La Baule)
The Vaudeville Show Magician, ca. 1895
Oil on cardboard, 49 x 39 cm
Signed lower right: E. Vuillard
Salomon/Cogeval III-50
The theatre is bound to attract the young "Nabi/Prophets", in that they wish to get away from the easel picture and enlarge their art to embrace other arts. Thus posters, programmes and, above all, decorations are a welcome new field of activity. What’s more, their tendency toward surface decoration impels them in the same direction. The middleman here is the inventive actor Lugné-Poë, who had attended the Lycée Condorcet with Vuillard and shared a studio with Vuillard, Bonnard and Denis in the Rue Pigalle. In his "Théâtre de l’Œuvre", which he founded in 1893, where he staged plays by Ibsen, Björnson and Hauptmann, he opened up this new world to these artists. Our knowledge of this new development in the art of that time suffers from the fact that these theatre decorations have not survived. However, we can sense something of this revolution in the theatre - de l’Œuvre? - in the Bührle Collection's painting of this tiny theatre with the sonorous red of the robe of the singer on the stage, which is echoed by the jacket of the speaker in front.