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Vuillard's Room at the Château des Clayes

Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2010;304(13):1418. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1391.
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The painter Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) liked to say that he didn't paint portraits in the conventional sense; he painted people in their homes. If commissioned to paint a portrait, he would ask the sitter to make herself comfortable and then follow her around the room with his eyes. At a moment when she seemed at ease, he would begin to sketch. When Vuillard later converted his sketches into a painting, he would stage the room to fit the character of the sitter. In this manner he painted a fashion designer who worked hard and led an orderly life sitting at her desk in front of a grid of bookshelves, and a friend who was fond of luxury and lazy afternoons reclining on a plush divan.

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Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Vuillard's Room at the Château des Clayes, circa 1932, French. Distemper on paper mounted on canvas. 77.8 × 100.2 cm. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago (http://www.artic.edu/aic/), Chicago, Illinois; gift of Mary and Leigh Block, 1973.337.

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