About this artwork

This drawing dates from 1888, a crucial year for Bernard and his friend Gauguin. Both men were in Pont-Aven, Brittany, each producing their seminal paintings of Breton life: Bernard’s ‘Breton Women in the Meadow’ (Private Collection) and Gauguin’s ‘Vision of the Sermon’ (NG 1643). This bold watercolour of a seated young woman is typical of the costume studies Bernard made at Pont-Aven, where he lodged at the Pension Gloanec. The model for this study may well have been one of the Pension staff. She wears traditional Breton costume with a coiffe and a sober outfit with black sleeves. He was seemingly unhappy with the head and redrew it on a piece of paper which he then stuck on the main design. She is particularly close to the figure types found in Bernard's ‘Breton Women in the Meadow’.

Emile Bernard

Emile Bernard