Edouard Vuillard. Foliage: Oak Tree and Fruit Seller, 1918. Distemper on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago, a Millennium Gift of Sara Lee Corporation (cat. no. 84)

Edouard Vuillard painted this tapestrylike image for the Paris residence of art dealer George Bernheim. Here he depicted the view from his mother's second-floor bedroom in the villa Closerie (meaning "closed property") des Gênets at Vaucresson, a western suburb of Paris near Versailles. The Vuillard family rented this villa every summer from 1918 to 1925. The heavily encrusted paint surface of soft greens and blues forms a dense screen of foliage through which can be glimpsed women, including the itinerant fruit-seller of the title, and numerous children at play. Vuillard organized the complex patterns and shapes formed by the leaves, branches, and fencing around the prominent tree trunk in the foreground, which bisects and stabilizes the composition. The artist began Foliage during the final year of World War I and was adding his final touches when news of the signing of the Armistice reached Paris on November 11, 1918.

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