This painting was begun in 1920 at Vaucresson, a residential suburb west of Paris, where Vuillard’s friends Lucy and Josse (Jos) Hessel had recently purchased the house depicted in the background. Jos, a partner in the art firm of Bernheim-Jeune, had become Vuillard's dealer in 1912. His wife was one of Vuillard's great loves; their relationship spanned more than three decades, until the artist's death in 1940. The woman in a housedress standing at right is Lucy's cousin Marcelle Aron. Lucy kneels across from her, at left, camouflaged by one of the large rosebushes that serve as a decorative screen in the foreground.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): E. Vuillard
the artist (to Hessel); Monsieur and Mme Jos Hessel, Paris (by 1930–at least 1939); their daughter, Mme Jacques Arpels, Paris (until 1952; consigned on October 27, 1952 to M. Knoedler & Co., New York; consignment no. CA 4281, as "La Maison du clos Cézanne Vaucresson"; sold on November 28, 1952 to MMA)
Paris. Paul Rosenberg. "Exposition d'œuvres de Bonnard et Vuillard provenant de collections particulières," December 2–31, 1936, no. 41 (as "Le clos Cézanne," lent by M. J. Hessel).
Paris. Musée des Arts Décoratifs. "Exposition É. Vuillard," May–July 1938, no. 180 (as "Jardin à Vaucresson," 1923 and 1937, lent by M. Jos. Hessel).
London. Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. "L'École de Paris," November 1938, no. 74 (as "Le Jardin de Vaucresson," about 1926).
New York World's Fair, French Pavilion. "Contemporary French Art," April 30, 1939–October 27, 1940, no. 159 (as "Le Clos Cézanne à Vaucresson," lent by M. Jos Hessel, Paris).
New York. Paul Rosenberg. "Paintings by Bonnard and Vuillard (1868–1940)," January 5–30, 1943, no. 7 (as "Le Clos Cézanne à Vaucresson," 1918).
New York. Wildenstein. "Vuillard," October 16–November 21, 1964, no. 59 (as "Garden at Vaucresson," started in 1923, resumed in 1937).
Paris. Orangerie des Tuileries. "Édouard Vuillard—K.-X. Roussel," May 28–September 16, 1968, no. 160 (as "Jardin à Vaucresson").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Impressionist Epoch," December 13, 1974–February 16, 1975, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 43; as "Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson," 1923 and 1937).
Art Institute of Chicago. "Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890–1930," February 25–May 16, 2001, no. 85 (as "Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890–1930," June 26–September 9, 2001, no. 85.
Édouard Vuillard. Journal. July 23 and October 29, 1920 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, Paris, III.6, fol. 51v, III.7, fol. 19v. Excerpts published in English transl. in Ref. Salomon and Cogeval 2003, vol. 3, p. 1324], in July, notes that he has begun a painting in the Clos Cézanne and in October, mentions working on the figure of Marcelle.
Édouard Vuillard. Journal. May 31 and October 9, 1926 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, Paris, III.(S).E., fol. 20r and fol. 63r. Excerpts published in English transl. in Ref. Salomon and Cogeval 2003, vol. 3, p. 1324], in May, notes that he has begun working again on this painting and in October mentions reworking Marcelle's head.
Romain Coolus. "Le Château des Clayes." La Renaissance 13 (July 1930), ill. pp. 191 (installation photo), 194, as "Le Jardin de Vaucresson"; reproduces images of this picture in an earlier state and hanging in the dining room of Hessel's country home.
Édouard Vuillard. Journal. May 11, June 16, and October 19, 1935 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, Paris, IV.8, fol. 45v and fol. 54r, IV.9, fol. 18r. Excerpts published in English transl. in Ref. Salomon and Cogeval 2003, vol. 3, p. 1325], notes that he is again working on this painting.
Theodore Rousseau, Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (January 1954), p. 7, ill. p. 56, as "Cézanne's Garden at Vaucresson".
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, p. 214, ill., call it "Garden at Vaucresson"; state that according to Vuillard, he began this picture about 1923 and returned to it in 1937; identify the setting as the Hessels' house and garden near Paris, noting that Jos Hessel called this garden the "Clos Cézanne" (Cézanne Garden) because he acquired the property in exchange for a Cézanne picture.
Pierre Georgel inÉdouard Vuillard, K.-X. Roussel. Exh. cat., Haus der Kunst München. Paris, 1968, p. 120, no. 160, ill., notes that it was reworked about 1935; compares it to "Morning in the Garden, Clos Cézanne" (1923–24; reworked in 1938; private collection; SC XI-70).
Bernard Dunstan. "The Distemper Technique of Édouard Vuillard." American Artist 37 (February 1973), ill. p. 44.
Lucy Oakley. Edouard Vuillard. New York, 1981, p. 17, ill. on front cover (color) and colorpl. 18, calls it "Garden at Vaucresson"; states that it was begun about 1923 and completed about 1937; tentatively identifies the figure at left as Lucie Hessel.
Patricia Ciaffa. "The Portraits of Edouard Vuillard." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1985, pp. 356–60, fig. 203, states that it was begun in the early 1920s and completed about 1935.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 85, colorpl. 61, dates it 1937.
Belinda Thomson. Vuillard. New York, 1988, pp. 110, 139, colorpl. 109, as "The Clos Cézanne at Vaucresson"; dates it 1920, reworked 1926, 1935–36.
Grace Glueck. "When One City Was the Heart of Art's Youth." New York Times (March 10, 2000), p. E39.
Gloria Groom. Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890–1930. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 2001, pp. 250–52, 278, no. 85, ill. (color), states that it was begun in 1923 and repainted in 1937 in preparation for Vuillard's 1938 retrospective [Exh. Paris 1938]; suggests that the woman on the right is Tristan Bernard's niece Madeleine and the woman on the left is Lucie Hessel; compares it to "Morning in the Garden, Clos Cézanne" (private collection; SC XI-70) which depicts Lucie Hessel and Alfred Natanson in a more formal area of the garden and was also owned by Jos Hessel [see Ref. Georgel 1968].
Antoine Salomon, and Guy Cogeval, with the collaboration of Mathias Chivot. Vuillard, the Inexhaustible Glance: Critical Catalogue of Paintings and Pastels. Milan, 2003, vol. 1, p. 519; vol. 3, pp. 1323–25, no. XI-52, ill. (color), call it "The Clos Cézanne Garden at Vaucresson"; state that it was begun in the summer of 1920 and reworked in 1926, 1935, 1936; identify the figures as Lucie Hessel and Marcelle Aron, the latter based on Vuillard's journals, preparatory sketches, and photographs, including one of the women wearing the same housecoats as in our painting; comment that the image of Marcelle was repainted to make her appear much younger; observe similarities with the 1898 panels commissioned by Jean Schopfer (private collection, Switzerland; VI-99.1–.2); note the influence of Redon.
Rebecca A. Rabinow inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 191, 312, no. 176, ill. (color and bw), as "Garden at Vaucresson," 1920, reworked 1926, 1935, 1936.
Stephen Brown. Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890–1940. Exh. cat., Jewish Museum, New York. New York, 2012, ill. p. 46 (color).