Georges Jules Victor Clairin France

9-11-1843 Paris, FRA – 9-2-1919 Pouldu, FRA

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Clairin, Georges Jules Victor

Georges Jules Victor Clairin a French Oriental painter and illustrator. He was influenced by oriental painting and Moorish architecture, and visited North Africa many times, in particular Morocco and Egypt. In Paris he led the life of a socialite, and befriended the glamorous actress Sarah Bernhardt, his friend for 50 years, and is today best known for his 'in costume' and informal intimate portratits of her.

Georges Jules Victor Clairin was apprenticed in the workshops of Isidore Pils and François-Édouard Picot. In 1861 he entered the École des beaux-arts de Paris, and in 1866 first displayed his work. He traveled to Spain with Henri Regnault and to Italy with François Flameng and Jean-Léon Gérôme. He met the Catalan painter Marià Fortuny in Morocco and they visited Tétouan together. In 1895, he traveled to Egypt with the composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

Georges Jules Victor Clairin is best known for his portraits of Sarah Bernhardt, with whom he had a long friendship and whom he depicted in costume for a number of her roles, including as the queen in Ruy Blas (1879), Mélisande in La Princesse lointaine (1895 and 1899), Cleopatra (1900), Theodora (1902) and Saint Teresa of Ávila; he also showed her in less formal poses.

Georges Jules Victor Clairin also painted several ceilings: foyers of the Opéra Garnier in Paris and the theater of Cherbourg; Grand theater of Tours, dome of the Paris Bourse de Commerce, and the ceiling of the theater of Epernay.

Art Movement: Orientalism
Influences: Isidore Pils, François-Édouard Picot
Traveled: Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Italy
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