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Fifth room
Symbolism and fin de siècle

Moving away from the naturalistic representation of reality, symbolism regarded subjective vision as fundamental to artistic representation, and the mysterious and gloomy spurred the creativity of writers and artists alike. Monet’s interior scenes with members of a family under the light of a lamp still contain echoes of French late-romanticism, although he placed greater emphasis on the study of light and shadow as an artistic phenomenon. His example was followed by the Nabi artists Edouard Vuillard and Félix Vallotton with their interiors of dense atmospheres and fl atter forms. From a more literary point of view, the shadow lies at the heart of much of the work of artists like Léon Spilliaert, Xavier Mellery and the young František Kupka.
Nude on Yellow Background

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
The Dinner, c. 1868-1869
Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 65.5 cm
Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection, Zurich
Two Women under a Lamp
Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Two Women under a Lamp, 1892
Huile sur toile marouflée sur bois, 33 x 41.5 cm
Centre Pompidou, París. Musée national d'art moderne / Centre de création industrielle.
Legs Georges Grammont 1959, pour le Musée de l'Annonciade à Saint-Tropez
© RMN / Gérard Blot
The Dinner

Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946)
The Night, 1908
Encre de Chine, lavis, pastel sur papier occident vélin, 49.6 x 65.1 cm
Collection de l’Etat belge, œuvre gérée par la Communauté française de
Belgique en dépôt au Musée d’Ixelles
The Night

Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)
Nude on Yellow Background, 1922
Oil on canvas. 100 x 73 cm
The Barrett Collection, Dallas, TX