"Marvelous, beautifully illustrated." —Wall Street Journal
Édouard Vuillard was so secretive that he berated himself for betraying his emotions in conversation. He was a reticent, impassioned man, at once a timid stalker and a social climbing anarchist, caught in conflicting desires. From the 1880s until the advent of World War II, using styles from academic to pointillist to Nabi to Fauve, Vuillard’s abundant paintings revealed his turmoil of love and hatred: models pose beside a plaster torso cast from the Venus of Milo, women appear without faces, anxiety radiates from many masterpieces—while other works were left unfinished for months or years.
Drawing on insights and images from Vuillard’s still unpublished diaries, Julia Frey takes us into Vuillard’s private world of cabarets, experimental theaters, holiday resorts, and intimate boudoirs, showing how his art reflects his fraught personal relations and his artistic struggles. Frey highlights many of his finest works, from his famous intimate interior scenes to book illustrations and poster designs, and she examines his complex relationships with iconic friends like Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Felix Vallotton, as well as with the women he loved—his mother and sister, penniless models, and rich men’s wives.