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Emile Bernard

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Emile Bernard

*  1868 Lille
† 1941 Paris


Emile Bernard, one of the most outstanding figures of early modern painting, was born in Lille on 28 April 1868. Even Bernard's early works, that were painted in the style of Pointillism, made quite a big impression on painter colleagues like Henri de Toulous-Lautrec, van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. After this period the artist started to gradually form his own painting style. It was characterised by clear, dark contours that helped Bernard distinguish his picture objects and color surfaces. His style was set to become part of art history under the name Cloisonnism. Bernard's new painting style made van Gogh and Paul Gauguin curious. This led to an intense cooperation between Emile Bernard and Gauguin in 1888 and 1889. However, this relationship was not free from conflicts. Especially after van Gogh's death the former friends really fell out, when the public focused on Gauguin as the founder of Symbolism. Bernard felt mistreated by Gauguin and the art world. In 1893 Bernard fled to Egypt in order to avoid being drafted into the army. He lived in Egypt until 1903 where he also married. Emile Bernard felt betrayed. In order to avoid being drafted into the army, Emile Bernard fled to Egypt in 1893 where he lived for more than ten years and married. Emile Bernard died at the age of 89 in a Paris studio on 16 April 1941.