Vuillard's work straddles two centuries: he was a major post-impressionist in the 1890s, as well as a participant in the renewal of decorative art before and after 1900. Vuillard was one of the central figures of "Les Nabis" ("Nabi" means "prophet" in Arabic and Hebrew), a group of Parisian avant-garde artists whose members included Pierre Bonnard and Félix Vallotton, among others. During the Nabi period Vuillard produced some of his best-known work--provocative paintings of middle-class interiors and contributions to avant-garde theater.
Vuillard also worked steadily through his post-Nabi years, from 1900 until his death in 1940. He experimented increasingly with abstraction and powerful color in a manner that bears comparison with Henri Matisse and the Fauves. In the latter decades of his life he expanded his range in natural light, landscape, and portraiture.