Émile Bernard (French, 1868-1941)
Carved and painted wood 
95 x 59 x 20 in. (241.3 x 149.9 x 50.8 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon 
Accession Number:
On View

Like Gauguin and the other Synthetists, Bernard admired folk art, particularly the crafts of Brittany. Increasingly drawn to Catholic mysticism in the early 1890s, he regarded the Bretons’ religious faith with reverence. Adorned with flowers, trees, and women picking apples in a kind of Breton Eden, this cabinet exemplifies Bernard’s desire to return art to its origins in craft, creating a beautiful and meaningful object for everyday use. Although the original purpose or source of the commission is unknown, this cabinet is likely the same mentioned by the artist’s sister, Madeleine, in her letters; it remained in the Bernard family until the 1920s.


Possibly Commissioned by the Count de Rochefoucault in 1888;
Returned to the artist;
Michael-Ange Bernard-Fort, (son of artist,1906-1992), Paris;
Mrs. Clément Altarriba (née Émilienne, called Elisabeth, daughter of artist, 1907-1993);
[Sylvia Blatas, Paris];
Norton Simon, by bequest to;
Jennifer Jones Simon Art Trust, to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation

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