Édouard Vuillard was born in Cuiseaux in 1868. He attended the Lycée Condorcet and trained at the studio of Diogène Maillart (1840–1926); soon deciding on an artistic career, breaking the family tradition of a career in the army.
In 1886 Vuillard entered the Académie Julian and in 1888 the Académie des Beaux-arts. The following year he joined a small group of art students that found inspiration in Japanese color woodcuts and the painting of Paul Gauguin. Calling themselves the Nabis, meaning “The Prophet” in Hebrew, the group experimented with a new concept of image space and painting from memory rather than directly in front of an object.
With other members of the Nabi group which included Pierre Bonnard, Paul Serusier and Maurice Denis, Vuillard exhibited small-scale works at the Le Barc de Boutteville gallery. Later in the 1890s he showed work at the renowned dealer, Ambroise Vollard’s studio. From 1900, along with Bonnard, he became increasingly naturalistic in style and the two artists were the primary practitioners of Intimisme, emphasizing color and depicting small groups of people in intimate surroundings.
In the early years of the 20th century Vuillard began to show work at the Parisian gallery of the Bernheim-Jeune family and was later contracted to them. Bonnard was very popular although personally he was reserved and quiet. Lucy Hessel, wife of Jos Hessel, a partner in Bernheir-Jeune, became a close friend, confidante and model. His works were primarily interior domestic scenes. Characteristic of Vuillard’s association with the Nabis is the emphasis on decorative patterns, as in the present example.