Vuillard was associated with a group of young artists known as the Nabis, whose anti-naturalist, decorative style was influenced by Gauguin. He frequently used friends as models, but he was not a portraitist in a traditional sense. ‘I don’t make portraits’, he once said, ‘I paint people in their homes’. He obsessively studied the everyday objects and furnishings of middle class interiors, and represented his models as they might be seen by a friend or member of their family. The model here is Mme Alfred Savoir, known as Miche, an acquaintance of Vuillard’s friend and dealer, Jos Hessel.