Study for La Comédie of the Palais de Chaillot

In 1936, Vuillard was commissioned to provide a decoration on the theme of comedy for the entrance to the newly built Théâtre national de Chaillot in Paris. Setting the scene on the grounds of the Château des Clayes, he composed the vast painting like a stage. In the foreground, at left, are characters inspired by Molière—a marquis seducing an ingénue, perhaps from The Misanthrope; and at right, Titania and the donkeyheaded Bottom from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The final painting, still in place at the theater, is over eleven feet wide, showing Vuillard’s talent for developing monumental compositions from very small sketches.

Ɂdouard Vuillard
Study for La Comédie of the Palais de Chaillot, 1936–37
Pastel and graphite on paper
Promised gift of Jill Newhouse; 2020.98
© Édouard Vuillard / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York