Edouard Vuillard, France 1868-1940, ‘Interieur, mere et soeur de l’artiste’, 1893 (interior, mother and sister of the artist). Oil on canvas.
Click on the picture for a very large image.
What is striking you here? See how the younger lady shyly hides into the wall ? How is this achieved?
The painter gave her almost no volume, and the flowery wall pattern almost engulfs the geometrical one of the dress (look at her right shoulder on the enlarged picture). The brown colour of hair, wrist bands and parts of the face seems to dissolve in the wall’s general hues. Her posture moreover makes her almost falling down from the tapestry.
This is an extraordinary painting.
The artist knew the characters well: his own mother and sister. A mere look at the assertive pose of the older lady, in the centre of the canvas and in oppressive black tells us immediately who is the boss in the family!
Vuillard is a post-impressionist painter who also worked as a house decorator (from Wikipedia). It reflects on his art. His favourite subjects for a while were interiors with richly ornated walls and figures in flowery dresses. I love this particular painting because of the emotionaly charged rendering of the subject.