Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Conversation

Artist:
Édouard Vuillard (French, Cuiseaux 1868–1940 La Baule)
Date:
1897–98
Medium:
Oil on cardboard
Dimensions:
15 1/2 × 19 1/2 in. (39.4 × 49.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998
Accession Number:
1999.363.85
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 904
The intimacy of a shaded grove surrounded by dark tree trunks gives this outdoor scene the look of an interior. The woman on the right is Misia Natanson (née Godebska, 1872-1903), who appeared in many of Vuillard's paintings as well as in works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, and Renoir. Vuillard made three versions of this gloomy scene, all of which were in his studio at his death.
Marking: Stamped, lower right: E. Vuillard
the artist (until d. 1940); his nephew, Jacques Roussel, Paris (from 1940; sold to Renou et Colle); [Galerie Renou et Colle, Paris; sold ca. 1950 to Mayor?]; [Mayor Gallery, London]?; [Sam Salz, New York, until 1951; sold on February 9, 1951 to Gelman]; Jacques and Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1951–his d. 1986); Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1986–d. 1998; her bequest to MMA)

Paris. Galerie Charpentier. "Vuillard," October 8–December 5, 1948, not in catalogue [see Ref. Salomon and Cogeval 2003].

Cleveland Museum of Art. "Édouard Vuillard," January 26–March 14, 1954, unnumbered cat. (p. 70; as "Conversation [Cipa and Missia (sic) Godebski]," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Gelman, Mexico City).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Édouard Vuillard," April 7–June 6, 1954, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," December 12, 1989–April 1, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 65).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," April 19–July 15, 1990, unnumbered cat.

Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "De Matisse à Picasso: Collection Jacques et Natasha Gelman," June 18–November 1, 1994, unnumbered cat. (p. 89).

Claude Roger-Marx. Vuillard, His Life and Work. New York, 1946, p. 61, notes that there are three versions of this picture, called "Après déjeuner à Valvins (After Lunch at Valvins)"; identifies the sitters as Cipa Godebski and his sister Misia [Natanson] [see Ref. Rewald 1989].

Andrew Carnduff Ritchie. Édouard Vuillard. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 102, ill. p. 70, dates it 1899.

Lawrence Gowing in Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 18.

Sabine Rewald in Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pp. 64–67, 316, ill. (color and bw), dates it about 1897–98; identifies the woman as Misia Natanson at her country house, adding that the man has been identified as either her half-brother Cipa Godebski [Ref. Roger-Marx 1946] or as Bonnard, citing letters from Antoine Salomon, but questions the resemblance to Bonnard; states that although Roger-Marx identified the site as Valvins, near Fontainebleau, where the Natansons had a country house until early 1897, Salomon identified it as "Le Relais," the manor house rented by the Natansons in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne in the spring of 1897; notes that Vuillard spent the summers of 1897–99 in Villeneuve and that both Godebski and Bonnard were also there in autumn 1898, reproducing a photograph of them which shows Misia in a similar pose to that in this painting; mentions three versions of this composition, all of which remained in Vuillard's studio until his death [see Ref. Salomon and Cogeval 2003].

William S. Lieberman in Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 1.

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. 510, no. VI-83, ill. (color), call it "Afternoon Tea—II" and date it 1897–99; publish Jacques Salomon's identification of the figures as Bonnard and Misia Natanson; reproduce a photograph of Misia in the garden at Le Relais in a similar pose to that in this painting; reproduce two other versions of this composition, also dated 1897–99 (both private collection; SC VI-82 and SC VI-84) as well as an oil study (art market, Switzerland; SC VI-81).



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