Collection Online

Vue en Suisse (View in Switzerland), 1900

Artist: Édouard Vuillard, French, 1868 - 1940

Medium: Oil on wood panel

Painting: 16 x 32 1/4 in. (40.6 x 81.9 cm)
Frame: 63 x 51 1/4 x 4 in. (160 x 130.2 x 10.2 cm)

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon

Object Number: 55.48

On View

Edouard Vuillard, 1900; Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1900; Louis Bernarnd, Paris (sale, Hotel Drouot, May 11, 1901, n.62); Bernheim-Jeune, Paris; Paul Gallimard; Paul Cassirer, Berlin (owner in 1929); Georges Levy (acquired before 1945); Israel Collection, New York Wildenstein and Co., New York, New York, 1955; Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon, Memphis, Tennessee, 1955 (with life interest retained)

Édouard Vuillard was born in Cuiseaux, France. After the death of his father, his mother moved to Paris to work as a dressmaker. As Vuillard’s grandfather and uncle were textile designers, he grew up surrounded by designs, patterns, and textures. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian, where he met Pierre Bonnard and Maurice Denis. They formed the group called the Nabis, a name derived from the Hebrew word for prophet, and sought inspiration from 19th-century Japanese woodcuts, French Symbolist paintings, and English Pre-Raphaelite art. Their primary influence, however, was Paul Gauguin’s bold two-dimensional style and his belief that the expression of ideas, mood, and emotion were more important than naturalistic representation. Their works are characterized by the emotional or decorative use of flat color patterns and linear distortion. Like the other Nabis, Vuillard primarily painted interior scenes using a muted palette to create works of subtle texture and pattern. His paintings are complex tapestries of quiet, cultivated middle-class life.

 

In the early years of the 20th century Vuillard began to show his work at Bernheim-Jeune, a Parisian gallery, and was encouraged by his dealers to explore new subjects. A sojourn in Switzerland sparked a new awareness of the countryside and inspired him to paint landscapes. Often enclosed by trees or vegetation, his landscapes have an intimate quality, much like indoor spaces. Vue en Suisse depicts a summer day with lush fruit trees ripening under blue skies and a lone figure standing amid a sheltered grove. Although naturalistic, Vuillard has simplified the principal elements, depicting the orchards in flat areas of color with loosely rendered details. The outlines of the trees, branches, and foliage form abstract patterns, while his brushstrokes create a subtle textile-like design of mottled grass and trees. Using pale light and areas of neutral colors, Vuillard evokes a mood of restful calm, similar to that of his interior scenes.