Sunday, July 26, 2009

Recipe For A Room: Edouard Vuillard

One of the countless wonders of the internet is being able to view virtually any work of art on command. I've saved this image of an Edouard Vuillard painting for months now.
("Interior with Figure Sewing," 1899)

I am inescapably drawn to the moodiness of the interior and to that gorgeous rug draped across the table in particular. We've all seen that decorating touch in many Dutch paintings but I've always been curious as to the reason for it. After a little Google research, I learned that apparently only the wealthiest of households actually put rugs on the floor; mostly, they were deemed too precious for such use and were used as table coverings or wall hangings instead. (Side note: During mealtimes, the rug would be covered by another cloth to protect it.)

The late Domino magazine used to have a monthly feature where they would turn an outfit into a room and, in the spirit of that concept, I challenged myself to do the same with this Old Master painting. 

Although this wallpaper is by no means a dead match, I feel like it has the same golden quality and scale of pattern to it...and I'm in love with its muted elegance.
("Kaleido" in Copper, via

I think this rug from Anthropologie is stunning and captures the same vibrancy of the one in the painting. I don't know about you, but I'd love to pull up a chair and rest my elbows on it.
(Ikat rug, $498, Anthropologie)

This flat braided jute rug from Pottery Barn would be perfect on the floor and is one I've seen mentioned countless times in magazines as being a designers' favorite.
(9' by 12', $599)

There are lots of choices for curtains; these are from Restoration Hardware and would do the job in a pinch. (Add pom-pom trim to the edges if you want to be faithful to the painting.)

This table from the ever-chic Martyn Lawrence Bullard is remarkably similar to the one next to the woman seated by the window.

(Romano side table)

These Queen Anne chairs from Pottery Barn are a wonderful echo of the ones pictured.

Need a piece of artwork on the wall? This charming landscape from one of my favorite online auction houses is a steal at the suggested $100-$140 estimate.
(Wiliam H. Truitt, Amer. 20th c., item #0307)

Just paint the frame in Benjamin Moore's Million Dollar Red (comme Vuillard) and you're good to go.

If you plan on sewing like the woman in the painting, you'll need more than natural light if you want to avoid a severe case of eye strain. This floor lamp from Circa Lighting would eliminate your need to sit quite so close to that window.

(Edwardian boom arm floor lamp, $840)

Lastly, this faux stack of books from Empiric would be a perfect place to stow your needlework should a visitor unexpectedly stop by.
(Vintage book drawers, $75)


Jane said...

Isn't that a lovely idea. To me it shows how timeless style is. 110 years old and still relevant and entrancing. And more amazing that the colours textures and styles can be almost perfectly matched to products available to us now. There is nothing new in the world..

Karen Orr said...

Delightful post. Right up my aisle. I imagine rooms from paintings all the time.

My long time imaginary room is ~

Henri Matisse - The Hindu Pose

And more recently I've enjoyed putting together imaginary rooms based on ~

William Merritt Chase - A Friendly Call

pve design said...

You sure know how to conjure up to connections with past souls. I adore Edouard Vuillard and his use of lively color. Rugs on tables are like magic carpets....

Kalee said...

Vuillard pieces are always fascinating and the patterns, specifically wallpaper depicted, incredible. I like your modern interpretation of the wallpaper. Great post!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jane: What goes around comes around, right?

KO: Just clicked on those paintings. Beautiful. Now I'm itching to find contemporary matches to them as well!

PVE: "Magic carpets" well put.

Consummate Hostess: I'm seriously loving that wallpaper, too.

Laura said...

Lisa I may never forgive you for introducing me to Du productivity level has already plummeted as I gaze longingly at the wonderful pieces. If I may return the favor, I came across an estate jeweler in Litchfield Connecticut a while back by the name of Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers. I could spend an entire day gawking at their baubles.

home before dark said...

I love Vuillard, too and his devotion to his own interior life. I am also a great fan of Berthe Morisot. I view these interiorscapes as inspriation and preservation of a time gone by. To create rooms around paintings is so Madeleine Castaing.

I have a small rug over one of my tables in my living room. Placed, as my mother-in-law, who received it from her uncle, with the "mouse damaged" to the wall. Lovely old muted colors.

By the way, you might like the book "In Praise of the Needlewoman," which is a collection of paintings of women doing needlework. Enjoyed Bloomsbury at Little Augury today.

Gruvkitty said...

Delicious! I could spend the rest of my life happily creating rooms from paintings. Now if I could just find a way to get the time and money...;) I adore Vuillard but haven't looked at him in ages. Thanks for this.


krys kirkpatrick said...

I just discovered your blog, I love it. I am putting you in my reader!

Gigi Thibodeau said...

I love this idea! I can see why you are so drawn to this painting, and I love the care and attention you took as you crafted your imagined room. A very inspiring post!

Jen West Design said...

I have that Pottery Barn rug in my living room and it is the closest thing to rush matting that you can get for a fraction of the price. It is super duper soft underfoot, too. I love it. Love love love.

caitlin said...

what a great idea! i love your selections, especially that charming landscape.

GoodProspect said...

In case you haven't looked at the Desire to Inspire blog recently:

The inside of a caravan.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Laura: Dumouchelles is kind of great, huh? Let me know if you buy anything... :)

Home Before Dark: Must. Get. That. Book. Thanks for mentioning it.

Giner, Kris, Gigi: V. happy you're pleased... xx

Jen West: Am SO glad you love that rug! Am thinking of it for my bedroom...does it shed much?

Caitlin: I know, that little landscape is perky, isn't it?

Hallie: You know how I feel about caravans. Am going to check out that link now. Thank you, darling!

Laura Trevey said...

I need some of those wonderful Queen Anne chairs from Pottery Barn!
Great post...

Paul Pincus said...

i love the kaleido in copper.

i'm also kinda sorta obsessed with that fantastic romano side table. it's a lot of perfection.

ps you were blessed with the great eye!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Paul: Wow. That is one of the BEST compliments I've ever gotten.

Laura: I like that they come in a range of colors!

CashmereLibrarian said...

Nice job! I'd love to live in your room. I especially love the wallpaper--a great find!

Merisi said...

I enjoyed browsing through your imaginary room. The braided jute rug is a real treasure! I do miss stores like Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, especially for their gorgeous summer and Christmas collections.

prashant said...

Nice job! I'd love to live in your room. I especially love the wallpaper--a great find!

kanishk said...

I adore Edouard Vuillard and his use of lively color.

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Share my Garden said...

I have a smooth fox terrier too, so, of course, I have to follow your blog! Your images are beautiful. I also love Lartigue and have a postcard of Hendaye1934, beach tent and sunbather, on my kitchen dresser, bought at an excellent exhibition of his work in London a few years ago.
Was a Biba girl like your sister in the sixties. I've kept some of the clothes from then but sadly they no longer fit me!

Share my Garden said...

I also have a smooth fox terrier, so, of course, I have to follow your blog!
Was a Biba girl in the sixties and still have some of the clothes, although they no longer fit.
Love Lartigue. I have a postcard, 1934 Henaye, bought in London some years ago at an exhibition of his work.
Your images are lovely, make me want to be in the south of France!

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