Self-Portrait with Sister

Édouard Vuillard, French, 1868 - 1940

Made in France, Europe

c. 1892

Oil on paper on cardboard

9 x 6 1/2 inches (22.9 x 16.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 163, European Art 1850-1900, first floor (Gray Charitable Trust Gallery II)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    During the 1890s, when he was part of the group of experimental young artists who called themselves the Nabis, Edouard Vuillard developed a painting style that incorporated broad areas of flat color, simple, stylized forms, and the decorative play of elegant line. His works of the period bear often-unsettling intimations of psychological, moral, and spiritual complexity. Even small paintings like this, jewel-like in the brilliance of its matte colors, suggest depths of emotional intensity. Here, Vuillard, bearded, depicts himself embracing his sister Marie (Mimi). In reality she was seven years his senior, but, with her long pigtail, she appears far younger than the artist. The strange melding of the two forms and the intense and febrile intimacy of the embrace hint at a troubling ambiguity in the dynamics of family life. In later years, Vuillard's family and friends, observed at moments of domestic intimacy, provided constant subjects for his art. Rarely, however, are the images as haunting and ambivalent. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 205.


Jacques Roussel (b. 1901), Paris (Vuillard's nephew) [1]. With Sam Salz, New York (from Roussel?) [2]; sold to Louis E. Stern, New York, May 3, 1955 [3]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. Roussel is listed as the former owner on the provenance provided by Salz to Stern. Salomon and Cogeval, Vuillard: The Inexhaustible Glance: Critical Catalogue (Paris and Milan, 2003, no. II-21), simply gives Salz' source as "private collection, Paris", from the artist's studio. Jacques Roussel was the son of Vuillard's sister Marie, who married Vuillard's friend the artist Ker-Xavier Roussel. If Salz is correct, the painting presumably passed by descent (Vuillard had no children) to Jacques Roussel, who owned other Vuillards. 2. Salomon and Cogeval (p. 1644) note that Vuillard himself met Salz in 1938 through Jos Hessel, and that the artist painted Salz' portrait in 1939. Salz was Vuillard's leading American dealer in the 1930's and especially after the artist's death (Salomon and Cogeval, p. 1542). 3. Copy of dated receipt from Salz in curatorial file.

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