Vuillard and His Mother

Laura Cumming at The Guardian:

Édouard Vuillard was 60 when his mother died in 1928. He had never lived with anybody else. “My mother is my muse,” he confessed to a friend, and the truth of that is apparent in more than 500 images of this small, stout widow with her tight bun and patterned dresses running a sewing business in the various Paris apartments they shared. She is there from first to last.

There – but where exactly? Take the smallest but most absorbing work in this gripping exhibition. Its title is Two Seamstresses in the Workroom. There they are, two young girls furled up in the lengths of cloth they are stitching. It is late; the lamp’s amber glow makes the blue of their dresses sing out in the silence while casting their faces into shadow. Their profiles are unusually distinct for Vuillard, who seems to be sitting close to the table himself. But at the far end is the hint of another person: just a fraction of flesh tone, but the shape of her forehead is characteristic. Madame Vuillard presides at the head of the table.

more here.