IDBURY PRINTS

EDMOND FRANCOIS AMAN-JEAN (French / 1860-1935)

Edmond François Aman-Jean was born in Chevry-Cossigney (Seine et Marne). His real name was Edmond François Jean Amand. Orphaned at the age of 10, Edmond Aman-Jean was taken in by an uncle in Paris. He commenced his art studies in the atelier of the sculptor Justin Lequien; one of his fellow pupils was Georges Seurat, and the two became close friends. In 1878 Aman-Jean and Seurat moved on to the Paris Beaux-Arts together, to study in the atelier of Henri Lehmann. Aman-Jean, Seurat, and fellow-student Ernest Laurent fell under the spell of Impressionism at the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition of 1879, and resolved to leave the Beaux-Arts. In 1881, Aman-Jean discovered the work of Puvis de Chavannes, and from 1883 he worked with Puvis on the grand "Bois Sacré" that decorates one wall of the staircase of the Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Aman-Jean produced his first lithographs around 1890, encouraged by Léonce Bénédite. Although closely associated with Seurat, Edmond Aman-Jean was more influenced by Symbolism than Pointillism, perhaps because of his close friendships with the Symbolist poets Mallarmé and Verlaine (of whom he made a ghostly lithographic portrait in 1891). Edmond Aman-Jean took up etching in 1908 under the influence and tutelage of his close friend Albert Besnard. Aman-Jean etched between 20 and 30 plates, starting with sketches of dogs and geese, then studies of his children and Besnard's, and ending with a series of studies of a female model. Aman-Jean seems to have made these etchings for his own pleasure without any intention of publishing them; he pulled a few proofs of each subject and set them aside. Our etching, La femme à la corbeille (Woman with a basket), an astonishing tour-de-force, was chosen by Aman-Jean and André Dezarrois as the best, and published in 1926 by the Revue de l'Art ancien et moderne, of which Dezarrois was the editor. Aman-Jean told Dezarrois, "Les autres planches que vous aimez sont faites d'après un modèle assez beau, que j'avais à l'époque. Oui, on le reconnaît bien avec ses fruits, ses corbeilles." After mastering the art of etching with such enthusiasm, Aman-Jean then abandoned it, fearing it would distract him from his painting. Before WWI Aman-Jean had considerable success in the United States as well as in France. In 1922 Edmond Aman-Jean and Albert Besnard founded the Salon des Tuileries, which mounted an exhibition of his work in homage in the year after his death. More recently there was a retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris in 1970. See: Patrick Gilles Persin, Aman-Jean, peintre de la femme, 1993.

See also:

H.-J.-F. BELLERY-DESFONTAINES
ALBERT BESNARD
EMILE BERCHMANS
GASTON BUSSIÈRE
ANTONIN CALBET
GASTON CHARLES GUILLAUME DARBOUR
MAURICE DESVALLIÈRES
ERNEST JOSEPH LAURENT

Selected prints by EDMOND FRANCOIS AMAN-JEAN

Paul Verlaine, 1892
Lithograph
La femme à la
courbeille, 1926
Etching
Sous les fleurs, 1898
Lithograph

View all available prints by EDMOND FRANCOIS AMAN-JEAN