Édouard Vuillard was a painter, print maker and theatre designer. He was born raised in Cuiseaux, France and was the son of a retired ship’s captain and a dressmaker.
Vuillard studied at the Lycee Condorcet till 1885. Later, he moved into the studio of Diogéne Maillart with his friend Ker Xavier Roussel. After this training, Vuillard, after some set-backs, was finally admitted into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Vuillard was part of the Nabis by 1890, and exhibited with his fellow artists at the Barc de Boutteville. He also designed programs and theatre sets for the Théâtre de l’Œuvre.
By the end of the decade, Vuillard had travelled around the south of Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. He also travelled through Brittany and Normandy. He met the Natanson brothers, who founded La Revue Blanche, and published some of his graphics in their publication. The Revue Blanche was also famous for publishing the works of Bonnard, Vuillard’s fellow Nabis, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
The Natansons also encouraged Vuillard to help decorate the houses of several prominent people, including Mme. Desmarais and Alexandre Natanson. He also worked on the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Indeed, Vuillard received commissions like these till shortly before his death. They include Geneva’s Palais des Nations and Paris’ Palais de Chaillot. He often collaborated on these commissions with other artists like Bonnard, Maurice Denis, and Roussel.
The turn of the century found Vuillard continuing to exhibit his works at prestigious galleries like the Salon des Indépendants, where his paintings were on display in 1901, and the Salon d’Automne, which exhibited his work in 1903.
Vuillard lived most of his life with his mother, and his paintings, whose subject matter is largely domestic, reflect this. Many of his works show women at the breakfast table, or sewing, or sleeping or sitting and contemplating. In this way he’s much like Bonnard, though Bonnard often used his wife Marthe as a model. He died in La Baule, a pretty, seaside resort in Brittany, at the age of 71.