Jean-Édouard Vuillard was born in 1868 in Cuiseaux, France and was a French painter, decorative artist and printmaker, and is particularly well known for his intimate interior scenes. Vuillard joined a group of art students whilst studying at Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, between 1886-88, the group were called the Nabis (Hebrew for “Prophets”). The Nabis championed the use of a symbolic, rather than naturalistic, approach to colour, often applying paint in ways that emphasised the flat surface of the canvas. Similarly to James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Vuillard and the Nabis were also inspired by Japanese art work, in particular Japanese woodcuts which inspired them to use simplified shapes and strong contours.
My tutor at the Open College of Arts suggested that I look at Vuillard’s work as an artist who paints light through colour. I also decided to look the above painting ‘Woman in bed’ more closely following on from my previous assignment where I chose the exact same subject matter. I think you can see clear evidence of the use of strong contours and shape in the above example. In response to Vuillard’s work I recreated my own quick study, using pencil to mark out the shapes, watercolour, and then a fine liner pen over the top to add definition, on A5 paper.
This was just a very short exercise in recreating Vuillard’s work, although another example and opportunity to use watercolours which I have become more comfortable in using especially following on from the work I produced for George Shaw and Walking Art.