Madame Juliette Weil, troisième étude stamped with signature 'E Vuillard' (lower right) pastel on pink paper laid down on board 12 5/8 x 9 5/8in. (32.1 x 24.2cm) Drawn in 1927-1928
PROVENANCE Lucy Hessel, Paris. Dr. Paressant, Nantes. Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 9 March 1942, lot 98. E. and A. Silberman Galleries, New York. Private collection (acquired from the above in May 1964). Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 10 May 2010, lot 209. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
LITERATURE A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, Vuillard, The Inexhaustible Glance, Critical Catalogue of the Paintings and Pastels, III, Paris, 2003, p. 1351, no. XI-108 (illustrated).
Juliette Weil was the wife of Dr. Prosper-Emile Weil, Vuillard's doctor and brother of the artist's old friend the playwright Romain Coolus. The couple were close friends of Jos Hessel, Vuillard's principal dealer, and his wife Lucy, the artist's mistress from 1902 until his death in 1940. The setting of the present portrait is almost certainly the elegant drawing room of Juliette Weil's home at 24bis avenue de Président Wilson in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the same setting as Vuillard's famous portrait Madame Weil and her children (Private collection; A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, op. cit., III, p. 1348-9, no. XI-103).
Madame Weil became Vuillard's 'second muse' in about 1922, and in time was one of his 'two widows', in competition with Lucy Hessel. As Guy Cogeval notes, 'in his relationship with Juliette Weil, first intellectual friendship, we believe, the friendship alone prevailed. And Juliette surrounded him with the affection of her family. It is perhaps fair to say that she was infatuated with Vuillard, not that this prevented Lucy [Hessel] from being, in private, ferociously jealous towards her. Like Lucy, Juliette was one of those women who consider that forming an attachment with a gifted and famous artist as tantamount to embracing a historical destiny' (A. Salomon and G. Cogeval, op. cit., III, p. 1349).