Edouard Vuillard. Embroidering by a Window, or Tapestry, 1895. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, estate of John Hay Whitney (cat. no. 36)

Edouard Vuillard. Woman in a Striped Dress, 1895. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (cat. no. 39)

These two works were part of a five-panel series known as Album commissioned to decorate the Paris apartment of Thadée and Misia Natanson, important patrons who championed Edouard Vuillard’s art in their literary journal La Revue blanche. These canvases show women sewing, reading, or chatting in quiet domestic interiors filled with flowers. The compositions emphasize the decorative patterns of clothing, rugs, and wallpaper, which merge with the flat surface of the canvas. The anonymous women who inhabit these lush scenes function as yet another ornamental element, visual analogues to the flowers that surround them. The series was exhibited in art dealer Siegfried Bing’s Paris gallery, Maison de l’Art Nouveau, in which a 96-piece dinner service elaborately decorated by Vuillard was also displayed.

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