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Lucie Hessel, c. 1905

Édouard Vuillard

French, 1868-1940
Oil on cardboard
16 x 18 in. (40.6 x 45.7 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Having lived with his sister and his seamstress mother until his sixtieth year, Édouard Vuillard was profoundly interested in the textiles that were brought into his own home as well as the domestic spaces inhabited by women. Although he famously insisted, “I do not paint portraits. I paint people in their homes,” some of his most arresting images include visions of his inner circle posed through the familiar lens of portraiture. Lucie Hessel, wife of one of the artist’s dealers, reclines on her lush velvet sofa, with her artfully coiffed head resting on her hand, in a sumptuously appointed interior ornamented with gilt-framed pictures and a tower of lavish pillows. This close friend of Vuillard would participate in the artist’s life on a daily basis over the following forty years.

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