Psychological camouflage. When fading into the background has literal meaning.


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.






More pictures:








About louvain95

A lover of visual arts.
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7 Responses to Psychological camouflage. When fading into the background has literal meaning.

  1. colltales says:

    Thanks for stopping by at Colltales, louvain95. Very instructive and focused blog. Will come back to read more. All the best. Wesley

  2. Wow! What an extraordinary painting. So disturbing.

    • louvain95 says:

      Rather claustrophobic isn’t it? The painter lived with his mother till her death; she was a widow -her husband was a military man-, started a dressmaker’s business working from home, and was very much in charge of the family (3 children). The image strongly suggests that the daughter’s personality was smothered by the impressive mother. To quote you, she didn’t “invent her self”, contrarily to her mother who had to.
      Thank you very much for your visit and your comment. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, it is full of very interesting ideas. All the best,Lou

  3. Delightful…I’m so happy I’ve *clicked* myself into your room with a view!!

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