Modern and Contemporary Art

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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
M.1977.01.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Vuillard liked to say, “I do not paint portraits. I paint people in their homes.” And indeed, pictures like this one enlist domestic surroundings to suggest their sitters’ personalities and relationships to the artist. Here casually posed in a room crowded with picture frames, Lucie Hessel was the wife of Vuillard’s dealer. She was also the artist’s friend, his confidant, his muse and, ultimately, his lover, the subject of over a hundred paintings. An inscription in the upper right-hand corner of this portrait indicates that Vuillard painted it as a gift for her.

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