Edouard Vuillard: The Poetry of the Everyday, Holburne Museum, Bath, review: domestic fragments that contain worlds of thought and feeling

The Candlestick, Édouard Vuillard (detail)
The Candlestick, Édouard Vuillard (detail) Credit: Antonia Reeve/National Galleries of Scotland

Edouard Vuillard rarely left the Paris apartment he shared with his elderly mother, and at first sight his paintings appear inconsequential, like the kind of random snaps you can’t decide whether to keep or delete from your phone: a woman standing in blurred profile in a doorway, a man’s back silhouetted against patterned wallpaper – all rendered in rather blotchy oil paint. If that makes these paintings sound very contemporary, both date from the 1890s.

Vuillard, like his close friend Pierre Bonnard, with whom he tends to be twinned by critics, arrived on the heels of impressionism having been heavily influenced by Degas and Gauguin. Nevertheless he feels too quirkily “modern” to have the easy...

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