Émile Jourdan


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Status, price and estimation of the artist Émile Jourdan

Price of a painting: 1,000 – 60,000 €.

Estimation of a drawing and watercolour: 200 – 3,000 €.

If you would like to have a painting by Jourdan appraised, our experts will take care of everything.

Painting in the soul

Émile Jourdan was a French painter born in Vannes in 1860 and died in Quimperlé in 1931.

With a father who was a customs brigade captain and a grandfather who was a magistrate, he was destined for a career as a civil servant. Nevertheless, his parents were persuaded to enrol him at the École des Beaux-arts de Paris. There he joined, among others, Bouguereau’s studio. An insatiable pupil, he also attended classes at the Académie Julian.

Brittany in the heart

Around 1887, he returned to his native Brittany and went to Pont-Aven where he met a group of young artists who had settled there and who would later be referred to by art historians as the Pont-Aven School – Émile Bernard or Henry Moret, but especially Paul Gauguin. Gauguin’s aesthetics would have a significant influence on Émile Jourdan’s pictorial approach.

He thus adhered to the current of synthetism. His research went in the direction of a simplification of forms. He eliminated the details to keep only the essential shape of things by making use of the flatness of colour and the ring.

At that time in the midst of his artistic exploration, Brittany became too narrow in the eyes of the young painter. He wanted new horizons, new landscapes where to nourish his creativity and draw his inspiration. He set sail for Finland in 1891. However, a year and a shipwreck later – off the coast of Riga – here he is back in Pont-Aven.

He dropped anchor for good in Brittany and settled there solidly by founding a family. He marries Catherine Guyader with whom he has four children.

Émile Jourdan, a life and a work at the mercy of the wind

The stability provided by his home is short-lived. After the death of his mother in 1907, he spent the inheritance in great numbers. His wife abandoned him and took their children with her. Expelled from his flat, he was reduced to begging for the hospitality of his friends. His painting lost the bright colours that had characterised it until then, his palette faded, reflecting his existential anguish. Although he continued to sketch the Breton landscapes in the rows of his walks, he judged his production with severity. He does not hesitate to destroy works that do not please him. This is the reason why few pieces of Émile Jourdan’s work have come down to us.

He died in 1931 at the hospice in Quimperlé, after almost two decades spent in solitude and misery.

A cursed and tormented bohemian artist who despite his talent could not make a living from his art, the originality of his work is today recognised by art lovers and the estimates for the artist’s sales are reaching important prices. In July 2015, one of his paintings – Brignon – was sold at 46,000 € by the Brest auction house.

A structured, balanced and spontaneous composition, a Japanese air breathed into the Breton landscapes: one cannot deny the unique and distinctive style of Émile Jourdan among the artists of Pont-Aven.

Appraise and sell a painting by Émile Jourdan

If you own an Émile Jourdan painting or any other sculpture, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.