Edouard Vuillard
(Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, 1868-1940, La Baule)
The Visitor, ca. 1900
Oil on paper on canvas, 59.5 x 51 cm
Signed upper right: E. Vuillard
Salomon/Cogeval VII-212
The "Visitor" is neither one of the artist’s many family pictures nor is it a commissioned portrait such as Vuillard did later in his career; a model simply strikes a pose, the title comes afterwards. It is the cheerful morning of a painter, for this small painting is a gem with its exquisite grey tones in the wall taken up by the mirror, defined by the pale gold of the frame; against this grey we. have the ivory-black of the fireplace with the white hangings and the flickering fire; next to it is the patient model in her black cloak and pale yellow hat. As announced in the "Salon with the Three Lamps" (1899), from the turn of the century onward Vuillard no longer sees a room as parallel to the surface plane of the picture, but articulates it with alignments that clarify it and give it depth. We are in the Rue de la Tour, where Vuillard had taken up residence with his mother in 1904, before moving to the Place Vintimille in 1908. After the confinement of the Rue Ruffaut, Vuillard was delighted by the abundance of light and the expansive views out over a garden.