Edouard [Jean-Edouard] Vuillard was born in 1868 in Cuiseaux, France, a tiny town near the Swiss border. At the age of nine, he moved with his family to Paris. Edouard's father, a retired army officer, died several years later, leaving Edouard's mother, Marie, to support the three children with only a small income. She came from a family of textile designers, and to make a living she first operated a lingerie shop and then a dressmaking business from the succession of Paris apartments that the family occupied.
Surrounded by the women and fabrics that filled her workroom, Edouard lived with his mother, his greatest supporter for her entire life. In his paintings, he confined himself primarily to scenes of cozy, cluttered interiors, often using his mother and sister as models. His interior scenes are characterized by a lavish use of pattern-wallpaper, upholstery, and dress fabrics, closely juxtaposed to create an almost collage-like effect.
In 1888, Vuillard studied briefly at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Jean-L�on G�r�me, but soon left because he disliked the conservative approach. Later that year he moved to the Acad�mie Julian, where he met other young artists who rejected both academic art and Impressionism. Vuillard associated with this group, known as the Nabis. By the turn of the century he was making striking, large-scale decorative wall paintings, folding screens, and portraits of prosperous French families. While Vuillard's art remained figurative, his intense focus on the picture surface itself-the flattened, sometimes unpainted support patterned with figures that blended with their surroundings would foreshadow elements of abstraction in the 20th century.