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In Storage

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

The Manicure

Like his friend Bonnard, Vuillard was a founder member of Les Nabis. Les Nabis were influenced by Gauguin's ideas on Synthetism - the combination of subject matter, the artist's feelings about the subject and the use of form, colour and line. Vuillard was a shy and sensitive man best known for the interiors he painted during the 1890s, many centred on his home and the work of his mother's corset business. They are marked by a claustrophobic atmosphere, dominated by the competing patterns of wallpapers and fabrics and psychological tensions between the subjects and Vuillard himself.

The Manicure is set in the apartment of his friends Thadée and Misia Natanson. Natanson was editor of the arts magazine La Revue Blanche - Vuillard held his first one-man show at its offices in 1891. Misia is providing a manicure for the writer Romain Coolus, while the ghost-like presence of Thadée looks on, his exclusion from this intimate moment perhaps symbolising their failing marriage. Vuillard's interest in the scene is heightened by his own unrequited love for Misia.

Medium oil on board
Date 1897
Dimensions 335mm x 300mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 1968/2
Credit Line Purchased in 1968 through the Chipperfield Bequest Fund