Claude Emile Schuffenecker

Download image: 
Claude Emile Schuffenecker
Portrait of Emile Bernard
ca. 1892
Black chalk on laid paper.
15 3/4 x 11 5/16 inches (400 x 287 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.

Emile Bernard (1868-1941) may not have achieved great fame as an artist, but he has accrued acclaim as one of the great correspondents of his era, exchanging letters, which he later published, with artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne. As a teenager in Fernand Cormon's atelier, he befriended Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh and cultivated friendships with other artists of the avant-garde, including Gauguin. He became a close friend of Schuffenecker, with whom he exchanged a voluminous correspondence.
Bernard often sat for his friends as he and his colleagues developed their technique. He reported that he sat thirty times for Toulouse-Lautrec, who portrayed a youthful Bernard in 1885. Bernard painted Schuffenecker's portrait in 1888; by 1892, it was his turn to sit for a portrait. Schuffenecker began with this black chalk study, which he subsequently reworked in pastel and colored crayons (sold, Paris, Ader, 23 March 2023, lot 261; Grosvogel 2001, no. 49) in preparation for a canvas now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (95.194). In the painting, the artist appears with a blue jacket, green vest, and lavender kerchief at the lower right, with a vase of flowers on a table in the background and the upper right and lower left corners cropped. Bernard's idealized, pale face and absorbed countenance suggest the friends' joint ambitions as they endeavored to explore new avenues in their art.


Inscribed at lower right in graphite, 'Emile Bernard'; Bernard studio stamp partly applied at lower right.
Watermark: "PL Bas"

The artist's estate; by descent to his daughter, Jeanne Schuffenecker (b. 1882), Paris, in 1936; Hirschl & Adler, New York; sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 March 1980, no. 157; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 21 November 1980, lot 140; at which purchased by Joseph F. McCrindle (1923-2008), New York.
Associated names: 

Hirschl & Adler, New York, dealer.
McCrindle, Joseph F., former owner.