'Madame Hessel on the sofa', c.1900
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Oil on cardboard and canvas, 54.6 x 54.6cm
Accession Number WAG 6217
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2009.
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Vuillard once claimed, "I do not paint portraits, I paint people in their homes."
Lucie Hessel was a great friend of Vuillard. She was also the wife of the artist's picture dealer. Here she poses relaxed and smiling in her apartment.
The walls are adorned with paintings. Her face, though cast in shadow, captures her mood. Vuillard's dry brushstrokes and scratching into the cardboard surface add to the physical modelling of the figure. Vuillard, a Post-Impressionist, was influenced by the Impressionists' interest in colour harmonies
This painting is part of the Walker Art Gallery's permanent collection and was purchased in 1966 with the help of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.