Game of Checkers
Artist Jean Edouard Vuillard
Jean Vuillard Self-portrait 1890
‘Game of Checkers’
by artist Jean Vuillard in 1897.
‘La Partie de dames’
The Game of Checkers, made in 1906.
- Jean Vuillard, a French Post Impressionist
painter and printmaker influenced by artists Seurat and Gauguin.
- Vuillard was the most gifted member of Les Nabis.
- Spent his youth at Cuiseaux Saône-et-Loire;
in 1878 his family moved to Paris and after
his father's death in 1884, Vuillard received
a scholarship to continue his education
at the Lycée Condorcet, where he
met several writers, musicians and future
painter, artist Ker Xavier Roussel, who
would later become his best friend.
- Jean Vuillard followed Roussel's advice
to refuse a military career and entered
des Beaux-Arts, where he met Pierre Bonnard.
- After a year at Condorcet, Vuillard and Roussel left the
school to join the studio of painter Diogene Maillart and under
his tutelage received the rudiments of artistic training.
- Three years later, in 1888, artist Jean
Vuillard joined Les Nabis and the following
year Vuillard began to work at the Académie
Julian, where he met Maurice Denis, Pierre
Bonnard, Paul Ranson and Paul Sérusier
and eventually shared a studio with artists Pierre and Maurice.
- When Vuillard’s work was rejected by the Salon of 1890,
he never submitted anything again for consideration in official art circles.
- Artist Jean Vuillard contributed his art to the Nabis
exhibitions at the Gallery of Le Barc de
Boutteville from 1891 to 1896.
- Vuillard also worked for the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre
of Lugné-Poë designing sets and programs.
- His best pictures were inspired by the daily activity around him,
and these domestic scenes, though small in scale, were intimate in
effect and held a mysterious, ritualistic character.
- Vuillard's early period also includes the influential set of color
lithographs, Paysages et Intérieurs, produced in 1899.
- Artist Jean Vuillard's early canvases
depicted a delicacy and daring of spirit
and reflected the influence of Gauguin’s
flat planes and emphatic contours as well
as the color mosaic and geometric surface
organization of Seurat.
- The motif in ‘La
Partie de Dames’ or The
Checkers Game, a gouache on paper,
displayed the congenial mood and atmosphere
of a group of 3 women reading and talking
and an amiable game of checkers
being played in a courtyard setting by
two men with a spectator as viewed from
a balcony window; the color mosaic in
browns and grays gave dimension and depth
to the composition and the splotches
of color created detail and some definition
in the checkers players.
- It was on this flat surface that Vuillard transformed ordinary
activities into evocative and expressive arrangements as can be
seen in his 1897/8 color lithograph on china paper of a
‘Game of Checkers’;
the simple interior was created with a great sense of light and
the theme was expressed in an arrangement of basic tones.
- In ‘Mother and Sister of the
Artist’ and ‘Dressmaker's
Studio’, both works struck a rare balance between
spontaneity and studied structure in the delicate handling of color
harmony and textures.
- Vuillard’s genre scenes represented
in both his paintings and lithographers
focused the simplicity and intimacy within
a scene rather than detailed portraits
- After the turn of the century, Vuillard's
art lost much of its originality and force
in favor of a more conservative approach.
- Vuillard first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants
of 1901 and at the Salon d’Automne in 1903 and began to
work on a series of decorations or
- In his paintings and decorative pieces, Vuillard
depicted mostly interiors, streets and garden settings
that were touched by a gentle humor and artistically
executed in the delicate range on soft, blurred colors
characteristic of his art.
- The artist Jean Vuillard never married
and lived an uneventful life with his mother
until the age of sixty, so he was very
familiar with interior and domestic spaces;
a lot of Vuillard’s art reflected
this influence, as it was largely decorative
and often depicted very intricate patterns within the scenes.
- In 1937, Jean designed decorations for the Palais de Chaillot
and the following year for the League of Nations Palace, Geneva.
- Then in 1938, he held a large retrospective exhibition
at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and was
elected to the Academy of Fine Arts.
- Game of checkers artist Jean Vuillard
experimented more and more with abstraction.
He used powerful color in a manner that
later resembled the manner of Henri Matisse and the Fauves.
- In the latter decades of his life, Vuillard
expanded his range in natural light, landscape
- Artist Jean Édouard Vuillard died
at La Baule two years later on June 21, 1940.