Venus Betrayed: The Private World of Edouard Vuillard

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Reaktion Books
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About the Author

Julia Frey is emeritus professor of French and Art History at University of Colorado, and a successful artist, printmaker and writer. Her books include the critically acclaimed biography Toulouse-Lautrec: A life (2006), which won a PEN literary award, and Balcony View: A 9/11 Diary (2011). She now lives in France.


"How does one wring dramatic interest and sustained insight from the cloistered routines of an artist who lived with his mother; never married; seldom traveled; and, with the exception of his youthful Nabism, recoiled from the dominant movements of the day? Julia Frey, an emeritus professor of French and art history at the University of Colorado, has done so in her marvelous, beautifully illustrated Venus Betrayed: The Private World of Édouard Vuillard . . . As the saying goes in fiction, artist monographs are best when the author shows rather than tells. Venus Betrayed balances and melds the biographical with the visual without forcing connections or overplaying symbols."--Maxwell Carter "Wall Street Journal"
"Frey's biographical account offers a new and intimate look at Vuillard--an artist whose work is central to the history of modern art. Centered on the private life that so characteristically defined Vuillard's painting, the book is engaging and personal, appealing to readers who are both new to and familiar with its subject."--Britany Salsbury, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Cleveland Museum of Art "Wall Street Journal"
"The title of Frey's Venus Betrayed hints at the provocative reassessment of an artist best remembered for his small scenes of intimate domestic life, and as a bachelor who lived with his mother all her life. 'Saint' Vuillard is now seen as much a sinner and indeed haunted individual. Densely illustrated with Vuillard's personal jottings and sketches to full blown paintings, this is a breakthrough in artist biography, offering bold and fascinating interpretations of recurring motifs, gestures and other symbols for Vuillard's ongoing passions and emotional conflicts, to bolster exciting new readings of the artist and the women in his life."--Gloria Groom, Chair of European Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago "Wall Street Journal"
"Frey's provocative portrait of Edouard Vuillard captures the paradoxical nature of the man and his oeuvre. Drawing on biographical, artistic, and photographic records, Frey refracts Vuillard's work through multiple perspectives in seventeen intriguing essays that reveal the richness and complexity of his life and art. This profusely illustrated volume offers original perspectives that challenge the reader to see Vuillard's work afresh."--Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Portland Art Museum "Wall Street Journal"