?> Figures in an Interior | Petit Palais

Intimacy is one of four panels painted by Vuillard for the apartment of Doctor Henri Vaquez (1860-1936) in Paris. This cardiologist, who was doctor to Daudet and later Marcel Proust, was a passionate lover of modern art.

For a room that was undoubtedly used as a library, Vuillard devised a subtle visual interplay between the pictures themselves, and the walls covered with the wallpaper that was their extension. The figures that appear in this panel are imaginary doubles of the occupants of the place. They blend into the multi-coloured mass of fabrics and wallpapers, which bring to mind the “mille-fleurs” tapestries of the Late Middle Ages.
The artist depicts a world enclosed by the horizontals of the crisscrossing beams of the celling and the edge of the carpet, and muted by a restrained range of pigments dominated by purple, brown and green. The effect of mattness was obtained using a technique he tried out when painting theatre sets: mixing paint with glue to preserve all the intensity of the raw pigment.

Exemplifying the artists’ reflection on the relationship between painting and the decorative arts, these panels where the subjects dissolve into the interplay of coloured marks prefigure the revolutions in painting of the early 20th century, with the birth of abstraction and the decorative paintings of Matisse. 

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City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

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