'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

A woman ironing

© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2009.

Zoom into this painting for more detail

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.