Édouard Vuillard (French, Cuiseaux 1868–1940 La Baule)
Oil on canvas
36 1/2 x 28 1/2 in. (92.7 x 72.4 cm)
Gift of Alex M. Lewyt, 1955
Not on view
In his sober, high-collared garment, the pensive twenty-three year old Vuillard might be taken for a civil servant or a clergyman. Only the palette and paintbrushes in his right hand identify him as a painter. The artist’s friend Waroquy, with a cigarette between his lips, looms behind, his facial features and his body rendered more vaguely. Waroquy’s name appears frequently in Vuillard’s journal during 1888–89, although today nearly nothing is known about him. The dreamlike quality of the picture derives from the fact that it is a mirror image. This is understood by the small bottle at the lower right, which is placed in front of the mirror and is also reflected in it. According to one of Vuillard’s autobiographical journal entries, he posed in front of a mirror in the bedroom of the apartment of his beloved Grandmother Michaud, in the rue de Miromesnil in Paris.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): E. Vuillard
the artist (possibly until d. 1940); his brother-in-law, Ker Xavier Roussel, Paris (possibly by inheritance, 1940–d. 1944); his son, Jacques Roussel, Paris (1944–probably 1949; sold to Salz); [Sam Salz, New York (1949–53; sold on February 3, 1953, to Lewyt]; Alex M. Lewyt, New York (1953–55; his gift to MMA)
Paris. Galerie Charpentier. "Vuillard," October 8–December 5, 1948, no. 4 (as "Vuillard et son ami Varoquy," 1890).
Kunsthalle Basel. "Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940), Charles Hug," March 26–May 1, 1949, no. 35 (as "Vuillard à la palette," about 1888, lent by a private collection, Paris).
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Great Portraits by Famous Painters," November 13–December 21, 1952, no. 46 (as "Self Portrait with his Friend Varocquez," 1892, lent by Sam Salz, Inc., New York).
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Édouard Vuillard," January 26–March 14, 1954, unnumbered cat. (p. 29; as "Vuillard and His Friend Varocquez," 1888–90, lent by Alex Lewyt, New York).
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Édouard Vuillard," April 7–June 6, 1954, unnumbered cat.
Bronx Museum of the Arts. "I and My World," April 8–May 31, 1974, no catalogue.
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 153 (as "Vuillard and His Friend Varoqui").
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Intimate Interiors of Édouard Vuillard," November 18, 1989–January 29,1990, no. 1 (as "Portrait of Vuillard and Waroquy").
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Intimate Interiors of Édouard Vuillard," February 17–April 29, 1990, no. 1.
Brooklyn Museum of Art. "The Intimate Interiors of Édouard Vuillard," May 18–July 30, 1990, no. 1.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Édouard Vuillard," January 19–April 20, 2003, no. 1 (as "Vuillard and Waroquy").
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Édouard Vuillard," May 15–August 24, 2003, no. 1.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Édouard Vuillard," September 23, 2003–January 4, 2004, no. 1.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Édouard Vuillard," January 31–April 18, 2004, no. 1.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 117 (as "Self-Portrait with a Friend").
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat. (p. 239; as "Vuillard mit einem Freund [Vuillard et son ami]").
Jewish Museum, New York. "Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890–1940," May 4–September 23, 2012, unnumbered cat. (p. 7).
Édouard Vuillard. Journal.  [Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, Paris, MS 5396, carnet 2, fol. 77v. Excerpt published in Ref. Easton 1989, p. 143], lists it in an autobiographical summary under 1889 as "portrait Waroq." [probably this picture].
Édouard Vuillard. Journal. November 11–12, 1908 [Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, Paris, MS 5397, carnet 2, fol. 12. Excerpt published in Ref. Easton 1989, p. 144], lists it in an autobiographical summary under 1889 as "portrait de Waroquy dans la chambre de bonne maman".
Claude Roger-Marx. Vuillard, His Life and Work. New York, 1946, ill. p. 26, calls it "Vuillard with Palette" and dates it about 1888.
Andrew Carnduff Ritchie. Édouard Vuillard. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. New York, 1954, pp. 10, 100, ill. p. 29, dates it 1888–90; notes the influence of Degas.
Theodore Rousseau, Jr. "New Accessions of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (April 1956), pp. 198–99, ill., calls it "Portrait of the artist with his friend Varocquez" and dates it about 1890; observes that Vuillard apparently painted it while looking at his reflection in a mirror.
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, pp. 212–13, ill., call it "Portrait of the Artist with his Friend Varoqui" and date it "probably shortly before 1890"; observe that the reflection of the glass bottle in the foreground indicates this is a mirror image.
John Russell. Édouard Vuillard, 1868–1940. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. London, 1971, p. 16, calls it "Vuillard and his Friend Varocquez".
Stuart Preston. Édouard Vuillard. New York, , fig. 2, calls it "Portrait of the Artist with His Friend Varoqui" and dates it about 1888–90.
Lucy Oakley. Edouard Vuillard. New York, 1981, pp. 5, 17, colorpl. 1, calls it "Vuillard with His Friend Waroquy" and dates it about 1889.
Patricia Ciaffa. "The Portraits of Edouard Vuillard." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1985, pp. 91–103, 105, 109, fig. 8, comments that this is the only early portrait for which Vuillard made preparatory oil sketches (private collection, United States and private collection, Japan; SC nos. I-95, I-96), suggesting that this picture was "personally meaningful"; based on notebook sketches, surmises that Waroquy was a fellow artist; interprets this picture as Vuillard's assertion of his confidence as an artist; discusses the influence of Carrière.
Belinda Thomson. Vuillard. New York, 1988, p. 16, colorpl. 6, as "Self-Portrait with Varoqui"; dates it probably early 1889 and suggests that it may have been intended as a Salon entry; notes similarities in palette to the portraits of Whistler and Carrière; identifies the setting as Vuillard's grandmother's bedroom in her rue de Miromesnil apartment [see Ref. Vuillard 1908].
Elizabeth Wynne Easton. The Intimate Interiors of Edouard Vuillard. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Washington, 1989, pp. 13–14, 133 nn. 3, 5, pp. 143–44, colorpl. 1, dates it 1889–90, noting that "for the first and only time, Vuillard unequivocally showed himself in the act of painting"; observes that this picture's large scale and references to it in the artist's journals indicate its importance to Vuillard, and identifies it as the one referred to in Ref. Vuillard 1905; surmises that Waroquy was a close friend of Vuillard's until the early 1890s, adding that little is known about him.
Lowery S. Sims inTreasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1989, p. 191, no. 153, ill. (color), notes that Vuillard spelled his friend's name "Waroquy" in his notebooks; mentions two "vague and sketchy" life-sized studies of Waroquy's head.
Michel Makarius. Vuillard. Paris, 1989, ill. p. 82.
Henry-Claude Cousseau and Deepak Ananth inVuillard. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon. Paris, 1990, pp. 161–63, ill., as "Autoportrait avec Waroqui".
Nancy Ellen Forgione. "Edouard Vuillard in the 1890s: Intimism, Theater, and Decoration." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1992, pp. 95–96, 114–16, fig. 50, as "Self-Portrait with Varoqui".
Gloria Groom. Édouard Vuillard, Painter-Decorator: Patrons and Projects, 1892–1912. New Haven, 1993, pp. 8, 210 n. 26, colorpl. 6, calls it "Self-Portrait with his Friend Waroqui" and dates it late 1889–90; describes it as "a transitional work showing both his naturalist and symbolist tendencies".
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, pp. 61–62, 65, 72, 78, 81, no. I-97, ill. pp. 2, 61 (color, overall and detail), call it "Vuillard and Waroquy" and date it 1889; note the influence of Ingres, Hans von Marées, Manet, Degas, Raphael, and especially Velázquez.
Guy Cogeval inÉdouard Vuillard. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. Montreal, 2003, pp. 54, 475, no. 1, ill. (color), calls it a "discreetly subtle tribute" to Velázquez's "Las Meninas" (Prado, Madrid).
Annette Leduc Beaulieu. "Edouard Vuillard." Apollo 157 (May 2003), p. 55.
Katherine M. Kuenzli. "Painting and Memory in the Career of Édouard Vuillard." Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Vol. 3, Spring 2004, http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/index.php/spring04/276-edouard-vuillard, discusses this picture as marking Vuillard's progression from traditional illusionism and immediacy toward allusive, subjective representations, noting in particular the insubstantial, dematerializing figure of Waroquy.
Sabine Rewald inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 158–59, 260–61, no. 117, ill. (color, overall and detail, and bw).
Roberta Smith. "Artists Caught in the Act." New York Times (January 5, 2007), p. E44, ill.