Living Together, Working Together: Édouard Vuillard and His Mother

December 5, 2021 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Register on Zoom and watch on Facebook Live

Vuillard’s mother, Madame Marie Vuillard, was a constant in her son’s life and in his art. More than five hundred paintings in which she is depicted, made over a period of four decades, are testament to this. Vuillard and his mother shared a series of modest rented apartments, a Parisian co-habitation lasting until her death in 1928. In these rooms Vuillard and Madame Vuillard operated mutually supportive, parallel working practices: Vuillard put his mother and her small sewing business ‘in the picture’, while she posed for his pencil and camera or printed his photographs. In this lecture, Dr. Francesca Berry will foreground the substance of Madame Vuillard’s role in the practical undertaking of her son’s art, whether that was as model, technician, advisor, financier or servant.  Berry will argue that, together, Vuillard and his mother brought a petit-bourgeois woman’s experience of domesticity into visibility as a complex, alternative motif to the domesticated femininity otherwise favoured by the Nabis.

Dr Francesca Berry is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies at the University of Birmingham. Before joining Birmingham in 2005, Francesca studied for her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at University College London. She proceeded to a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum. Francesca is currently chair of the editorial group of the Oxford Art Journal and has served on its board since 2010. Francesca specialises in interior and domestic space in French modernist art, visual culture and design, particularly from a feminist perspective, and has published many articles in this field. She was curator of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts’ 2018-19 ‘Maman: Vuillard and Madame Vuillard’ exhibition and co-author of its catalogue. Francesca is currently writing a book, contracted to Bloomsbury Academic, entitled Édouard Vuillard and the Nabis: Art and the Politics of Domesticity.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Édouard Vuillard, The Length of Thread, 1893, oil on canvas, 41.6 x 33.3 cm. Yale University Art Gallery.
Édouard Vuillard, The Length of Thread, 1893, oil on canvas, 41.6 x 33.3 cm. Yale University Art Gallery.