Édouard Vuillard

Jean-Édouard Vuillard (November 11, 1868 - June 21, 1940) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis.

Vuillard was born in Cuiseaux in Saône-et-Loire and was brought up in Paris in modest circumstances. He attended the Lycée Condorcet where his contemporaries included musician Pierre Hermant, writer Pierre Véber and painter Maurice Denis. In 1885, Vuillard left the Lycée Condorcet and joined his closest friend Ker-Xavier Roussel at the studio of painter Diogène Maillart (1840-1926). There, Roussel and Vuillard received the rudiments of artistic training.

Vuillard began to frequent the Louvre and was soon determined to build an artistic career. In doing so, Vuillard broke with the family tradition of a career in the army.

In March 1886, Vuillard entered the Académie Julian, where he was taught by Tony Robert-Fleury. On his third attempt, in July 1887, Vuillard passed the entrance examination to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For a period of about six weeks in 1888, Vuillard was taught by Jean-Léon Gérôme. During his study, Vuillard developed a preference for the realistic study of still-life and domestic interiors. He was particularly attracted to the 17th-century Dutch artists. Later in life, Vuillard would also draw large decorative panels depicting landscapes.

In 1889, Vuillard was persuaded by Maurice Denis to join a small dissident group of young art students of the Académie Julian, committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature. The group referred to itself as the brotherhood of Les Nabis. Sérusier instilled in Les Nabis a love for the Synthetist method, which relied on memory and imagination rather than direct observation. Vuillard was at first reluctant to accept the Synthetist idea that the painter should not seek to reproduce realistically what he saw. However, during 1890 he made his first bold experiments in Synthetist painting.

Vuillard died in La Baule in 1940.