Émile Bernard was a French painter, the founder of Symbolism. Creativity of Emile Bernard in the XIX-XX centuries. Are constant experiments with color, line, shape. The master’s paintings reflect a wide range of his creative hobbies: from neo-impressionism in the early period to copying Renaissance masterpieces in later works.
Biography of Emile Bernard
Emile Bernard was born in the French city of Lille on April 28, 1868. The child was mostly raised by his grandmother, who supported his grandson’s passion for painting. In 1878, when the family moved to Paris, the young man entered the College of St. Barb. Then, in 1884, Emil became a student at the Cormon Academy. Here he plunged into a creative atmosphere, met with Van Gogh, Louis Anquetin, Henri Marie Raymond comte de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa.
Emile Bernard experimented with color at the beginning of his studies, not accepting the academic canons. He was soon expelled from school for disobedience. The artist went on foot to travel through Brittany. He returned from it full of delight from the amazing landscapes and color of this French area.
In Brittany, Emile Bernard studied the creative style of Paul Cézanne, became interested in pointillism, one of the directions of neo-impressionism. Here, in the summer of 1886, the young man became close to the artists of the Pont-Aven school, met Paul Gauguin. A strong friendship struck up between the painters, their creative impulses, their desire to experiment with color and form laid the foundations of symbolism, which became a new trend in European fine art.
New style in painting
In 1887, Bernard, together with Louis Anquetin, developed a new style in painting cloisonism (from the French “cloison” partition), which formed the basis of “synthetic” symbolism. He assumed the use of contours in the drawing that separated the colors.
In 1889, Emile Bernard presented his landscape works at an exhibition held in the Parisian cafe Volpini, organized by Paul Gauguin. In 1893-1903. the master traveled a lot, visited Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, lived in Cairo for a long time. From 1901 he organized his own exhibitions in Paris, in 1905 in Berlin, in 1908 in the Munich Society of Arts.
The late period of the artist’s work was different from what he created at the end of the 19th century. The author gradually departed from the principles of symbolism, returning to the traditional academic manner, copied the works of the geniuses of the Renaissance. Also in his work there was a place for secular painting. Emile Bernard died in the capital of France on April 16, 1941.
The most famous paintings
Today, Emile Bernard’s paintings are kept in the world’s most famous museums and private collections. The most expressive works belong to the early period of his work:
- “Harvesting” (1888) the work attracts with a decorative rhythm of spots, which is based on the alternation of red, black, white colors.
- “Madeleine in the Forest of Love” (1888) the painting depicts the artist’s younger sister. Bernard masterfully conveys the dreamy character of a young girl, whose spiritual beauty matches her physical charm.
- Breton Woman and Goose by the Water (1888) is the most expensive work of the painter, sold for almost five million US dollars.
- “Breton Women with Umbrellas” (1892) is a cloisonnism painting with clear contour lines reminiscent of a stained glass window. Contrasting with the image is the traditional bonnets and collars of Breton ladies in the form of bright white spots, while the trees in the background resemble green crystals.
The work of Emile Bernard is a bright page in the history of French painting. He was a real innovator in the visual arts, not getting lost in the shadow of such geniuses as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne. Today, more than five streets in Brittany are named after the artist.