BERNARD, Émile
(b. 1868, Lille, d. 1941, Paris)

Breton Women in a Meadow

1888
Oil on canvas, 74 x 92 cm
Private collection

Having adopted a technique inspired by Neo-Impressionis, Émile Bernard then laid the foundations of Cloisonnism, a principle to which in the space of a few months he went on to give very varied versions, ranging from a geometrical simplification that anticipated Art Nouveau to a kind of medievalism with mystic overtones.

In this painting the gently undulating lines that snake across the picture disregard the outlines of the figures and, starting in the hems of the traditional skirts, intertwine. The women's headwear, widening into broad shawls, defines free-flowing forms that recur in similar style in a dog stretched out pleasurably on the ground. A figure in the background and the threesome in the upper right are included in the interplay of contours.