Lot 148
  • 148

Édouard Vuillard

350,000 - 450,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Edouard Vuillard
  • Madame Vuillard au petit-déjeuner à La Toquade
  • Stamped E Vuillard and numbered 184 (lower right)
  • Distemper and charcoal on paper mounted on canvas 


The artist’s studio
Jacques Roussel, Paris
Wildenstein & Co., New York (acquired by 1949)
Sam Salz, New York
Acquired from the above on March 3, 1952


Bern, Kunsthalle, Édouard Vuillard, Alexander Müllegg, 1946, no. 22
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts,Vuillard (1864-1940), 1946, no. 46
London, Wildenstein & Co., Édouard Vuillard, 1948, no. 43
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Vuillard, 1948, no. 77
Basel, Kunsthalle, Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Charles Hug, 1949, no. 215
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art & New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Édouard Vuillard, 1954, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue
Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1964, no. 234, illustrated in the catalogue


Stuart Preston, Édouard Vuillard, New York, 1972, illustrated in color p. 143
Emilie Daniel, Vuillard, l'espace de l'intimité, Paris, 1984, illustrated fig. 234
Antoine Salomon & Guy Cogeval, Vuillard, The Inexhaustible Glance, Critical Catalogue of Paintings and Pastels, vol. III, Paris, 2003, no. XI-50, illustrated p. 1322

Catalogue Note

With his prized Kodak in hand, Vuillard relentlessly employed the avant-garde medium of photography to seize domestic scenes as well as images of his friends and family from the most diverse and unexpected angles. Composition was one of the artist’s major concerns and—along with tonal gradation—allowed him to create novel ways to reinterpret familiar scenes. Madame Vuillard au petit-déjeuner à La Toquade is a marvelous and sophisticated example of the artist’s explorations of proportion and perspective and the ways they inform the viewer’s understanding of an image. Vuillard blurs the boundaries of background and foreground to create a unique and immediate impression in which pattern blends the many elements into a dialogue of color and light.

The artist’s mother, Marie Justine Alexandre Michaud Vuillard, is captured in her signature white bonnet, its bright color artfully drawing the viewer’s gaze. The scene reveals a solitary moment at breakfast, an intimate portrayal of a discreet ritual in everyday life. As discussed by Elizabeth Wynne Easton, the interior “was also the locus of the home industry, a place where Vuillard observed the quiet dignity of labor and its characteristic gestures. But it was family life, confined within these ever-present walls, that aroused [the artist’s] most powerful emotions. His interiors function as theaters within which the family enacted the consuming drama of everyday experience” (The Intimate Interiors of Edouard Vuillard (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1990, p. 4). Echoing Jan Vermeer’s depictions of interiors, such as The Music Lesson (see fig. 1), Vuillard offers partial and cropped views which require the viewer to imagine that which is unseen.

Through Vuillard’s personal Nabis aesthetic, informed by Symbolist ideals, the everyday represented a moment in which one could capture truth and emotions in visual terms. The depiction of his mother, whom he considered to be his muse and with whom he lived until her death in 1928, furthermore adds to the intimacy of the scene. Spatial uncertainty and the artist’s dazzling touches of color allow the viewers to fully immerse in the Nabis concept of conferring meaning beyond the visual, drawing us closer to the “new spirit and sensibility in things and places that are familiar” (op. cit., p. 35).


Fig. 1 Jan Vermeer, A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman (The Music Lesson), oil on canvas, circa 1662-65, The Royal Collection, St James’s Palace, London