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Géo Bernier

Géo Bernier

Namen 1862 - Elsene 1918

Geo Bernier was a painter of landscapes and portraits, but what characterised him was his paintings of horses. In 1883 he enrolled in the Academy in Brussels, where he served until 1888. Later he took advanced classes in the equine anatomy at the Veterinary School of Brussels, which helped him become a specialist in portraying horses. 

In 1887 he married Jenny Hoppe, an impressionist painter. She was the sister of Ketty Gilsoul-Hoppe and sister of Victor Gilsoul. The painter and his wife lived in Ixelles, where he also had an exhibition space. In 1893 he co-founded the art circle Le Sillon. 

Already in their first exhibition of 1893, he was named as one of our main animal painters by critics. He didn’t stick to horses alone: cows, pigs, sheep, dogs, swans,… For the drawing of all these animals, he had the right technique. He further specialized in painting “portraits” of winning horses and the equestrian portraits. 

Bernier had a deep love for the pastoral landscape around Veurne-Ambacht, but also painted regularly in the Polders and dunes.

He was also the last of the great Belgian realistic animal painters who worked in the tradition of Paul Potter. In 1920 a large retrospective exhibition in Brussels was dedicated to him.