Emile Bernard

Emile Bernard was born on April 28, 1868 in Lille. In 1886 Bernard went to Pont-Aven, where he began to develop the idea of a Cloisonnist style of painting -- bold forms separated by dark contours that would be a great influence on Gauguin and Van Gogh. Like Gauguin, he was attracted to the simple and traditional way of life practiced in Brittany. His works are


perhaps even more simplified than those of Gauguin, like with his Woman and Haystacks, Brittany (1888?).  It is interesting to compare works of Gauguin and Van Gogh done directly after Emile Bernard. Good side-by-side comparisons can be with Breton Women in the Meadow(1888), by Bernard, and Breton Women (1888) by Van Gogh as well as Self-Portrait with portrait of Paul Gauguin (1888) by Bernard and Self-Portrait with Portrait of Bernard (1888) by Gauguin.

However, Emile Bernard always felt that he had been a great influence on Gauguin. So, when Gauguin began to become popular and it was widely spread that Gauguin was the inventor of the style they both painted in, it bothered Bernard greatly that Gauguin never mentioned him as an influence. It really soured the friendship between the two of them and he felt he had a rivalry with Gauguin.

Although he never became nearly as famous as Van Gogh and Gauguin would become, Emile Bernard practiced many different arts and lived an exciting life. He did sculptures, woodcuts, and designed furniture and tapestries. He also did work as a poet and writer, studying religious mysticism and philosophy. After the time he spent with Gauguin and Van Gogh, he toured Italy in 1894 and settled in Egypt for 10 years. He returned to France in 1904 and founded and edited the review La Rénovation Esthétique and published his correspondence with Van Gogh, Gauguin, Redon, and Cézanne. He died in Paris on April 16, 1941.

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