The Gilded Chair, Madame Georges Feydeau and her Son (Primary Title)
The Golden Chair (Former Title)

Édouard Vuillard, French, 1868 - 1940 (Artist)

oil on panel
Unframed: 26 3/4 × 26 1/4 in. (67.95 × 66.68 cm)
Framed: 36 1/2 × 35 3/4 in. (92.71 × 90.81 cm)
After abandoning ambitions for a military career, Vuillard began training as an artist in the studio of Eugène Maillard. By 1890, he had become enamored of Japanese prints and the bold colors and flattened surfaces of Gauguin’s paintings, and he helped form the Nabi group along with Bonnard, Denis, and other fellow students at the Académie Julian who shared his enthusiasm for these styles. Throughout the 1890s, depictions of family members, friends, and acquaintances in the varicolored and richly patterned private spaces of bourgeois homes emerged as a constant theme in his paintings. He maintained that he was not interested in painting portraits but rather in depicting people in their habitual surroundings. As the title of this painting suggests, the gilded chair is indeed as much the subject of the composition as the two sitters. Vuillard depicts Marianne Feydeau, wife of French playwright Georges Feydeau and daughter of celebrated painter Carolus-Duran, and her six-year-old son, Michel, amid an array of decorative objects. He renders the gilded surfaces, smooth marble, and upholstery fabrics and textiles with a homogeneous degree of detail that effectively immerses the human figures within the interplay of reflections and shadows in the room.
Signed and dated lower right: "E. Vuillard 1906"
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval, Vuillard The Inexhaustible Glance (Milan: Skira Editore S.p.A. in association with Wildenstein Institute, Paris, 2003) p. 745, color pl. VII-407 [as The Gilt Armchair (Madam Georges Feydeau and Her Son)].
2019-2020: "Van Gogh Monet Degas, The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts", Palazzo Zabarella, Padua, Italy, October 26, 2019 - March 1, 2020

2019-2021: Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and Their Times: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, February 2 - May 5, 2019; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, April 4, 2020 - January 10, 2021

2018-2019: "Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts", The Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, March 17 - July 15, 2018; Oklahoma Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 22 - September 22, 2019

1966: “French Paintings from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., March 17-May 1, 1966, no 189
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Curator’s Talk: The Reinstallation of the Mellon Collection

The collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts given by Paul and Rachel Mellon constitute an essential facet of the museum’s identity. Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, discusses the reinstallation of the Mellon Collection.

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