Edmond Francois Aman-Jean

Description: COUNTRY OF ORIGIN France DATED c. 1910 MEDIUM Oil on canvas SIGNED/DATED Signed upper left
DIMENSIONS 20.00inch wide (50.80 cm wide) 24.00inch high (60.96 cm high) FRAMED DIMENSIONS
27.00inch wide (68.58 cm wide) 31.00inch high (78.74 cm high)


After a classical education at a Jesuit school, he started working at the studio of the sculptor Justin Lequien, where George Seurat was a fellow pupil. In 1878, with Seurat, he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, studying under Henri Lehmann, who also taught Pissarro. There, Aman-Jean, Ernest Laurent and Seurat realised they had a shared interest in Impressionism and consequently decided to leave the school. He began exhibiting regularly at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, becoming a member in 1893, and chairman of the painting section in 1914, 1921 and 1922. From 1899 onwards he often exhibited with the Société des Pastellistes de France. In 1899 he founded the Société Nouvelle de Peintres et Sculpteurs, which exhibited at the Galerie Georges Petit for 14 years. From 1902 onwards he was frequently invited to the USA to produce commissioned portraits of numerous public figures, as well as murals in a number of towns. He was also invited to exhibit there, notably at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh until 1914, where he was on the judging panel. He even organised an exhibition of French art between 1911 and 1912 which took place in Buffalo, St Louis and Pittsburgh. In 1912 he took part in the new Salon de la Triennale with, among others, Maurice Denis and Renoir. In 1913 he was appointed curator of the La Fontaine museum in Château-Thierry. Also in 1913 he published his paper on Velazquez, which was an immediate success. His work was interrupted by World War I. For four years he stayed in Château-Thierry, which fell under German occupation, and almost ceased painting altogether. After 1922 he left the Société Nationale and founded the Salon des Tuileries together with Albert Besnard, who became its chairman, with Aman-Jean and Bourdelle as vice-chairmen. He very rarely had solo exhibitions, but exhibited jointly with René Ménard at the Galerie Georges Petit in 1925. In 1936 a major exhibition was held at the Salon des Tuileries in his honour. Since his death he has been represented at collective exhibitions of the works of his era. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris held a retrospective of his work in 1970; the Musée de la Chartreuse in Douai and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Carcassonne hosted the exhibition Dreams of Women, Edmond Aman-Jean in 2003 and 2004.

In the 1880s he had produced engravings and lithographs. His lithographs were a big success. He made little effort to distribute his etchings. He was a careful draughtsman, working in charcoal, lithographic pencil, coloured chalk and pastels. He produced decorative compositions, most of them destined for various public buildings in Paris: St Julian the Nurse in 1883, Joan of Arc in 1885, The Park in 1901 for the town hall in Château-Thierry, four panels for the Marsan wing of the Louvre in 1908-1909, and painted The Four Elements for the chemistry lecture theatre at the Sorbonne in 1912, after which the parliament of Chile commissioned four large panels for the parliamentary palace. For a while after his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts, Aman-Jean practised Seurat’s technique of divisionism, but he soon reverted to a ‘flat’ style as he tackled his first few commissions for decorative compositions. During his stay in Naples and Amalfi in 1896 and 1897, the harsher light enabled him to discover more vibrant colours, and he took to using these in moderation during this first period of maturity. Gradually from 1912 onwards his work began to reflect a sensitivity to the intimate charm of Bonnard’s work. Today, this intimist part of his output is more appreciated, although it surprised those around him at the time.