EDOUARD VUILLARD lived most of his 72 years in the 20th century, but he was essentially a 19th century man. He achieved artistic fame in Paris before he was 30, soon after 1900 slipped into the critical obscurity that engulfed the last 40 years of his life.

Last week a big retrospective exhibition of Vuillard's work—130 paintings and 28 lithographs at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art—was helping to restore Vuillard to his place among the 19th century masters.

An intimate painter who put mysterious delights in his pictures of commonplace people and things, Vuillard adapted to painting the poetic creed of his friend...

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