Daily Art Moment: Private Lives

Image descriptions: 1. Pierre Bonnard, Child with Lamp. Lithograph on cream paper of a young child playing with toys on a small red table with a lamp. The background consists of of a rose pink color with dark brownish green hatched lines. The light-skinned child with rose pink hair is wearing a white shirt with blue dots. The child grasps the edge of the table with their left hand and rests their right arm on top of the table. The child’s head is tilted to the right and faint, loose brown lines make up the child’s facial features. The child holds red and blue toy stagecoaches. The lamp in front of the child has a dark green cylindrical base and a large dark blue shade that has a cream strip on top with a repeated pattern of dark blue x’s. A round dark green fixture holds the shade at the top and a white pole extends up out of the shade. Red and blue organic lines radiate from the white pole layered over the rose background.
Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), Child with Lamp, ca. 1897. Color lithograph on China paper; image: 33 x 44.9 cm. Museum Purchase: Ella M. Hirsch Fund, 41.11.6

After resetting the clocks and settling in for a dark winter, I am reminded of the many scenes of lamplight in the exhibition Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, 1889–1900. Families gathered around oil lamps, candles, or the hearth in tenebrous Parisian apartments. Each artist in the exhibition brought a different mood to his lamplit images, ranging from cozy to uncanny. Tell us your favorite in the comments, then come see them for yourself.

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

2. Edouard Vuillard, Interior with Hanging Lamp. The view in this lithograph is a dining room scene made of yellow, green, red and purple inks. There is a ceiling lamp in the upper left corner that is very prominent. It has a bright white bell shaped glass shade with a black ribbon tied around the smallest part at the top that drapes down the shade. Some of the metal hardware is also depicted, the hardware from above and the half circle lamp portion below the shade. The light is illuminating a portion of the room, the center of the lithograph. On the walls in the dining room is yellow wainscoting and white wallpaper with a small print. In the lower left is a green tablecloth with some red lines creating a decorative table linen. There is an open door leading to another room that has some undecipherable things in it that are purple (maybe windows) and something red with white (maybe a chair with a blanket). On the far right of the lithograph, on the other side of the open door is a woman in the shadows. All you can see of her is her white face and hand as her dark green dress blends into the walls. She is looking directly at the viewer.
3. Felix Vallotton, Getting Ready for a Visit. A black and cream landscape print of two contrasting figures set at either end of the work. At left a woman is turned in profile spaying perfume on herself in front of a bright candle. Her face and hands are cream as well as the details of her black hat and dress. She stands at a cream skirted dressing table strewn with a brush, mirror, and other items. A discarded cream garment lays over a chair in the foreground. Across the black expanse of the background, a man sits on a cream striped black sofa at far right. Most of his figure is black. His face, collar and shirt front, watch chain and a bit of his hand are discernable in cream highlights. His head is slightly bowed, and he appears to grimace. His hand is shoved in his pocket. At lower left a cream box with the black words “Apprets De Visite” appears. At lower right are the black initials “FV” in a black box. The artist’s signature is in pencil at lower right.

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