A brief encounter between: 'Madame Hessel on the Sofa' and 'Interior at Paddington'
Edouard Vuillard and Lucian Freud
Edouard Vuillard 1868-1940, 'Madame Hessel on the Sofa' 1900. Image © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2009.
Lucian Freud born 1922, 'Interior at Paddington' 1951
Two very different interiors: Freud paints his friend and drinking partner Harry Diamond in the corner of a room, bare except for a dusty palm and loose carpet. Vuillard paints his friend Lucie Hessel in a warm and comfortable sitting room, surrounded by paintings.
She is seated on a sofa with cushions plumped in the corners and appears relaxed and happy. Diamond on the other hand looks tense and uncomfortable. He is still in his coat and may have just arrived, or be just about to leave. Outside a solitary figure looks up at his balcony. Freud paints in careful detail - indeed Diamond spent six months posing for this picture - and there is little to suggest the friendship that existed between the artist and his model. Vuillard paints more quickly and his work appears to be more of an affectionate sketch.