Edouard Vuillard. Five-Panel Screen for Miss Marguerite Chapin: Place Vintimille, 1911. Distemper on paper, mounted on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Enid A. Haupt (cat. no. 80)

These panels, which originally formed a folding screen, were commissioned by Marguerite Chapin, an American expatriate living in Paris, with whom Edouard Vuillard became infatuated after their meeting in 1910. This panoramic view of teeming Parisian life in the bustling city square known as Place Vintimille is partly based on photographs of the location taken by Vuillard, who shared with his mother a fourth-floor apartment overlooking the square. However, he carefully altered details to create a cohesive overall composition and to accommodate the breaks in the screen panels. Vuillard executed the work in thinly applied distemper (dry pigment dissolved in hot glue), allowing the paper support to show through in places: the soil in the park, the spaces between the paving stones on the street, and the buildings at the upper left. The paper, although originally light beige in color, has darkened over the years.

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