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Emile Bernard

Lille 1868 - Paris 1941


Emile Bernard is one of the most colorful personalities of early modern painting. Bernard was born on April 28, 1868 in Lille. Soon he met painters like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh, made friends with Paul Gauguin and caused a stir among fellow painters with his pictures. After his first pointillist experiments Emile Bernard developed his own new pictorial idiom, which was later called Cloisonnism. In contrast to the delimitation of the impressionists, Emile Bernard clearly framed his subjects and colors with dark contours. This approach to pictures evoked interest from both van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, in 1888 and 1889 Emile Bernard and Gauguin worked closely together, though not without conflict. After van Gogh's death and the public's focus on Paul Gauguin as the founder of Symbolism, a confrontation arose between the former friends. Emile Bernard felt deceived. At the same time, he was at risk of being drafted into the military, so Emile Bernard fled to Egypt in 1893, where he lived for over 10 years and got married. Emile Bernard died in his Paris studio on April 16, 1941, aged 89.


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Erich Heckel
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