Edouard Vuillard and Walter Sickert were among the greatest European painters of the post-impressionist period. They met on a number of occasions, their work was exhibited together and several of Vuillard's most enthusiastic collectors also bought Sickert's work. Sickert was the only British painter who was accepted into the exclusive inner circle of late nineteenth century French modernist painters.
Both painters were involved in and influenced by contemporary theatre and their starkly original depictions of the domestic interior brought unsettling intimations of tensions, family dysfunction and even violence into what had, in general, previously been the preserve of family harmony. In contrast, both artists also celebrated the cities and landscape around them, clearly deeply affectionate towards their native or adopted cities and conscious of the more private beauty of modern urban life. While there are many connections between the two painters this exhibition also explores their revealing and significant differences.
Despite the close connections between the two artists, Vuillard / Sickert at the Naughton Gallery, curated by Dickon Hall, is the first exhibition that has concentrated on them together. It explores these similarities and crucial differences through paintings, drawings and prints dating from the 1880s to the 1930s that have been drawn from collections in Northern Ireland and England.
The centrepiece of the exhibition will be a remarkable self-portrait in which Vuillard depicts himself alongside his sister and his mother to create a vivid and unsettling image that uniquely expresses the complex psychology of their household. Four works by Sickert from the collection of the Ulster Museum will also be on display, including one of his most iconic paintings, Suspense, shown alongside two studies towards it.