Lot 350
  • 350

Émile Bernard

150,000 - 250,000 USD
162,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Émile Bernard
  • Mère et enfant
  • Signed Emile Bernard (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas


Galerie René Drouet, Paris
Dr. & Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr., Geneseo, New York
Private Collection, New York (by descent from the above by 1978)
Acquired from the above

Catalogue Note

In 1884 Bernard began his studies in Paris at the École nationale des Beaux-Arts. He studied under the painter Fernand Cormon and soon became friends with fellow students Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Louis Anquetin. Expelled a year later for his debates relating to the Impressionist artists,  he traveled by foot along the coast where his path crossed with Émile Schuffenecker, who in turn arranged an introduction to Paul Gauguin. Bernard also met van Gogh, and after the latter's death he would go on to organize the first French retrospective of van Gogh's work. Fascinated with the concepts of Divisionism and Pointillism as well as the aesthetic of Japanese woodblock prints, Bernard and Anquetin would together create Cloisonnism. 

Some years later Bernard planned on accompanying Gauguin on one of his voyages, but instead he found himself traveling on his own to Cairo where he settled in the old Arab quarter in 1893. By the middle of 1894 he married his wife, Hanenah. Hanenah's elegant arched brows and bow shaped lips feature prominently in several of the artist's works (see fig. 1) and the figure in Mére et enfant can hardly be of another woman. Hanenah and Bernard had five children together, although only two survived infancy. Years later the two split ways after Bernard fell in love with Andrée Fort, with whom he also had a child.  

In 1896 the family traveled to Spain where Bernard created several works with predominantly blue backgrounds similar to Mére et enfant which, it has been suggested, presage Picasso's Blue Period. This coincided with his renewed interest in Catholicism, as evidenced in the crucifix found in his self-portrait painted during this time (see fig. 2).