I spent a dozen years with my writer-desires hidden in a tumble of life, like sheets, pulled over me. A potent simple love-filled sleep, and then
This unassuming, glorious 17” x 18” painting is by Edouard Vuillard. Yet again, I didn’t choose Vuillard as a favorite painter. Vuillard chooses me.
And still the story goes. Just last week, I went to the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, to see a Post-Impressionist exhibit. I expected to be ravished by some of my old pals, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne. I have to admit I loved Renoir’s “The Dancer” so there was a small contest for my heart—but truly and utterly, Vuillard won the day. And I’m proud to say the painting among his half-dozen paintings which threw me over its shoulder and hauled me into its crazy den was “Profile of a Woman in a Green Hat.”
Simeran Maxwell, of the National Gallery of Australia, says about our Olive: The face is an enigma. The conspicuous brow evokes a variety of responses in the viewer. Is the woman anxious, persecuted or suspicious? Is she shying away from our intrusive gaze, archly teasing us, questioning what we are looking at, or crossly glaring at us?
Simeran, she is saying: I am in my place. Don’t you envy my green lucidity?
Edouard Vuillard lived with and adored his mother for sixty years, his dress-maker mother. He loved his best friend’s wife chastely and was often in their company. The radiance of his heart seems the topic of each painting; love of women and their interiors.
A gal could do worse for a favorite. "I don't paint portraits," Vuillard once said. "I paint people at home." Ah, there’s the attraction. Being at home.
NPR on Vuillard.
The New Yorker on Vuillard.
And for the first time on my blog, here is the man himself . . . stunning.