With the glowing contrast of the complementary colors blue and red, Emile Bernard enhances the presence of both of the main motifs of his painting—the pot and the fruit. The elements of the still life have been arranged at the corner of a table. Bernard neutralized the depth of this narrow section of space to achieve a flat overall effect by boldly combining steep views from above and from the front. All the objects in the picture have been simplified in terms of form, and summarized in a tension of strongly colored surfaces with dark contours. This identifies the still life as being one of Emile Bernard’s first purely cloisonné-like works. Together with Paul Gauguin, Bernard developed this type of painting in the Breton city of Pont-Aven in a dialogue with Louis Anquetin. Bernard treated the picture elements independently, seeking to detach the objects from their likeness so that their essence—that is, what is beneath the surface—could emerge: the inherent harmony of things and their secret poetry.


  • Title: The Blue Coffee Pot
  • Creator: Émile Bernard
  • Date Created: 1888
  • Physical Dimensions: 55.2 x 45.8 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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