First Fruits
Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868-1940)
On View

At fourteen feet across, First Fruits is the largest canvas Vuillard ever painted. He likely sketched its composition from the window of a villa outside Paris where he passed the summer of 1899 with his sister, her husband, and their young daughter. The painting’s grand scale and border of flowering plants, however, indicate that this is no spontaneous, outdoor sketch but a kind of patterned, painted tapestry, originally conceived as a decoration for the private library of a Parisian banker. Though inspired by the pleasures of a family holiday in the countryside, the picture, as one contemporary critic remarked, was quite evidently “painted in a city and for a city apartment.”


  • Artist Name: Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868-1940)
  • Title: First Fruits
  • Date: 1899
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 96 x 170 in. (243.8 x 431.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1973.33.1.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation; Photography courtesy the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Object Information

Commissioned by Adam Natanson (d. 1906), for 85, rue Jouffroy, Paris, by descent to his son;
Thadée Natanson, Paris (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 13 June 1908, lot 63, as Les premiers fruits, for Ffr 1200 to);
Alexandre Natanson, Paris (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 16 May 1929, lot 126, ill., as Les premiers fruits, to);
Mme. Bloch, to;
Léon Blum (d. 1950), Paris, 1929-1950, to;
Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York;
[Wildenstein, New York];
Private collection, Switzerland;
[Wildenstein, New York, sold 1973 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Oil sketches relating to this painting were on sale at Christie’s (New York), Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, 17 May 1983, lot 29; and Sotheby’s (New York), Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, Part II, 10 May 1989, lot 331.

The Nabis

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1992-09-24 to 1993-07-18
  • Segard, Achille, Peintres d'aujourd'hui: Les Decorateurs, pp. 253, 262-266, 321
  • Cogeval, Guy, Vuillard. Le temps détourné,
  • Warnod, Jeanine, E. Vuillard, pp. 54-55
  • Chastel, André, Vuillard 1868-1940, pp. 53, 115
  • Salomon, Antoine; and Cogeval, Guy, Edouard Vuillard Catalogue Raisonne: Paintings and Pastels,fig. VII-63 pp. 573-575
  • Dumas, Ann; and Guy Cogeval, Vuillard, pp. 31-33
  • Roger-Marx, Claude, Vuillard: His Life and Work, pp. 137-138
  • Bareau, Juliet Wilson, Revue de l'Art, p. 46
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 173
  • Groom, Gloria, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, pp. 147-165, 180-182
  • Bacou, R., Art de France,n. 33 p. 196
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1,2006,
  • Frèches-Thory, Clare; and Antoine Terrasse, Les Nabis, pp. 146-147, 150
  • Benjamin, Roger, Art Bulletin,fig. 3 pp. 298-300
  • Dugdale, James, Apollo, p. 99
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 994 p. 360
  • The French Impressionists in Southern California: Paintings, Sculptures and Prints in Public Collections. A Guidebook and Catalogue, p. 80
  • Groom, Gloria, Edouard Vuillard Painter-Decorator: Patrons and Projects, 1892-1912,pls. 195, 196, 199, 204, 213 pp. 65, 123, 124, 126, 127, 132, 145
  • Brettell, Richard, Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago, p. 7
  • Emily Beeny, Stéphane Guégan, Pas de deux: An Exchange of Masterpieces,2015, pp. 3, 27, 55, back cover
  • Ostini, Fritz von, Die Kunst für Alle, p. 349
  • Groom, Gloria, Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890-1930,under no. 41, fig. 1 p. 136
  • Thomson, Belinda, Vuillard,fig. 38 pp. 49-50, 115
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Landscapes and Interiors: Across the Fields (Paysages et Intérieurs: À Travers Champs) Édouard Vuillard 1899
Landscapes and Interiors: Album Cover (Paysages et Intérieurs: Couverture de l’Album) Édouard Vuillard 1899
Landscapes and Interiors: Interior with Hanging Lamp (Paysages et Intérieurs: Intérieur à la Suspension) Édouard Vuillard 1899

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