Bérard, Christian

Christian Jacques Bérard is a French painter, set designer, illustrator, decorator and costume designer. Discover all our works in our art gallery in Paris.

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Biography

Christian Jacques Bérard is a French painter, set designer, illustrator, decorator and costume designer. He was born in Paris on August 20, 1902, to a bourgeois family and an architect father. In 1920, he entered the Académie Ranson, where a number of Nabis artists taught.Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis. He exhibited from 1925, first at Galerie Pierre, then with gallery owners Jacques Bonjean and Pierre Colle, associated with Christian Dior. He quickly diversified his techniques, creating painted panels and carpet designs for Jean-Michel Frank, from whom Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Nina Ricci drew inspiration. From 1926 to 1930, he belonged to the group of artists known as "neo-humanists", which included the Berman brothers and Pavel TchelitchewThis was a reaction to Cubism, and advocated a return to line work inspired by the Italian Renaissance. His attraction to the theater was fully realized in the 30s and 40s, when he worked closely with Jean Cocteau and Louis Jouvet. He designed costumes and sets for such plays as Jean Cocteau's La Machine infernale (1934), Molière's L'École des femmes (1935) Jean Giraudoux's La Folle de Chaillot (1945), Jean Genet's Les Bonnes (1947) and Molière's Dom Juan (1948). His costume and set design for Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête (1946), which won him the admiration of many of his contemporaries and confirmed his status as one of the leading designers of the period, attracted the most attention. At the same time, Bérard worked with fashion magazines such as Vogue, with whom he collaborated faithfully from 1935 to 1948, and Harper's Bazaar, for which he produced illustrations. Sketching and drawing played an important role in Bérard's artistic life, both in fashion design and in the freer themes of death and tragedy that influenced his costume designs. As much for the diversity of his talents as for his eccentric presence in Parisian social life at the time, Christian Bérard was a highly visible figure in the theatrical Paris of the first half of the 20th century. He died on February 12, 1949. Visit lithographs and art posters pre- and post-letter services offered by the Arenthon art gallery in Paris testify to his abiding attachment to the theater and his keen sense of costume and expression. Several of Bérard's works were displayed on our walls on the occasion of our exhibition Theater and costumes from September to October 2020. To find out more about Christian Bérard, see the article dedicated to him on the Bibliothèque du Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris website. Christian Bérard, the theater of fashion.