Schuffenecker, Emile



Impressionism: partaker of the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition

Émile Schuffenecker


From Impressionism to Symbolism

Was Claude-Émile Schuffenecker an Impressionist?
If Schuffenecker is mentioned in books on Impressionism at all, he mostly is only mentioned as a side-figure, as partaker of the last exposition in 1886 and as friend of Gauguin. Joining only the last ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 seems to confirm him as a side-figure of the impressionist art-movement. Getting involved in the Pont-Aven group, the Nabis, Symbolism and similar minded painters as Gauguin, Bernard and Redon seems to make him more a post-Impressionist, than an Impressionist. Much is written about his relationship with Gauguin, but what is known about his relationship with Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillaumin? Was Schuffenecker part of the School of Pontoise and in that sense more part of the impressionist art-movement than acknowledged?
Around 1884 Schuffenecker started to paint in an impressionist painting style. Before that, he painted in a more Realist style, using more sub-dued colours, rendering details and painting more smoothly. Some say that around 1885/86 his style became Neo-Impressionistic, but he never used a strict Pointillist style, like Seurat. When I look at his painting style, Schuffenecker seems to be most influenced by Guillaumin using bright colours and vibrant brushstrokes. Striking is his use of pinks, lilacs and minty greens. Schuffenecker would continue these bright colours and (partly) this vibrant brush stroke all through his life, even in his more symbolist paintings (after 1889), though the emphasize on (arabesque) lines is also obvious in these symbolist paintings. I totally not agree the statement that his work lacks personality. And I hope this page, can contribute to a rehabilition of his painter, that produced beautiful impressionist works.

Schuffenecker, his early years:
In 1868 Schuffenecker received the first prize in drawing from the city of Paris (R54,p35). Schuffenecker was a pupil of Alexandre Athanese Grellet (around 1869), Paul Baudry (starting in 1866-70) and Emile Auguste Carolus Duran (from 1872-81) (iR3;iR24;iR1;R54,p35+28;R3;R88;R56). He frequented l’Académie Suisse (1872) and L’Académie Calorossi (1873) (R54,p35+28;iR3). He did so in the evenings, next to his job at Bertin (R9;iR70), a stock exchange agency in Paris where he worked from 1872-80 and where he met Gauguin↓ (iR3;R54,p15+35;R3;R9;iR70;R1,p409). He also studied the old masters in the Louvre (iR3).

Claude-Émile Schuffenecker at the Salon:
Schuffenecker exhibited at the Salon and it’s successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in 1877 + 78 + 79 + 80 + 81. He is called a pupil of F. Grellet in the catalogue of the Salon of 1877-79, a pupil of Paul Baudry (1880 + 81) and of Carolus Duran (1881) (iR1). He was rejected at the Salon of 1883 (R54,p47;R3;R9;iR3;R88) and in 1882 (iR3). Note: Some sources wrongly mention Schuffenecker debuted at the Salon in 1874 (iR70) or 1880 (R3) or that he only exhibited in 1880+81 (R88). See link for an impression of his exhibited pictures. See link for an account.

Schuffenecker only joined the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition:
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Schuffenecker showed 9 works (catalogue numbers 166-174; R2,p446). Two of them were studies, 2 figure paintings, 2 still lives and 3 snow scenes. In the preparations there were doubts if Schuffenecker should be admitted (R5,p151), especially Pissarro was opposed and thought his works were not interesting (R9;R88I,p835;R1,p522). Some sources mention Gauguin agreed Pissarro’s vision (R9), but Rewald mentions it was Gauguin who introduced Schuffenecker (R1,p522), which is more logical considering their friendship↓. Porro states that in addition to Gauguin, also Pissarro stimulated Schuffenecker to exhibit (R54,p59+77). It was Morisot who agreed to admit Schuffenecker (R1,p522;R88I,p835).
See link for an impression of his exhibited pictures. See link for an account.

Schuffenecker at the Salon des Indépendants:
1884/06/11 Schuffenecker was one of the founders of ‘La Société des Artistes Indépendants’. Later that year (1884/12/02) they would organize their first Salon des Indépendants (R54,p36+47;R5,p140;R9;R56;iR70;R1,p510). Schuffenecker would exhibit there many times, even in the year of his death 1934 (R54,p37). In 1926 there was a retrospective exhibition of his works and also posthumous in 1935 (R54,p36). See link for an impression of his exhibited pictures. See link for an account.

Schuffenecker as a Neo-Impressionist painter:
Some sources state that in 1885 Schuffenecker was part of the ‘Mouvement Néo-Impressionniste’ (R54,p36) and influenced by Seurat (iR15). He painted in large rectangular touches (R9). Several authors indicate that his involvement with Neo-Impressionism lasted from 1884-88 (R56). When I look at his paintings, that are often not dated, I would say that he used this style merely from about 1885-89. Schuffenecker would introduce Bernard to the neo-impressionist style (R54,p77;R55).
When we look at his paintings, it seems that Schuffenecker never painted in a strict pointillist style using small dots pointing in no direction. Schuffenecker used larger dots or little strokes varying in size and direction. This makes his paintings very lively and bright. In this sense he doesn’t seem to be influenced by the strict Pointillism of Seurat. (Note: Porro, I think wrongly, calls him a pointillist; R54,p77+36). I think his style is better to be divined as Divisionism or as an evolved style of Impressionism. I think his style in this period was more influenced by Guillaumin, than by Seurat.

Schuffenecker and Gauguin:
Schuffenecker met Gauguin in 1872 at Bertin, a stock exchange agency in Paris where they both worked (iR3;R54,p35;R3;R9;iR70;R1,p409). They became close friends. Schuffenecker persuaded Gauguin to come and paint on Sundays (R6,p196). From 1873-78 they frequented the same studios (R54,p35), such as Académie Colarossi in 1874 (iR70;iR3) and studied the old masters at the Louvre (iR3;M5). 1873/11/22 Schuffenecker was witness to Gauguin’s marriage; later on he became godfather to his son Émile (R54,p44;iR3;R36,p13). In 1884 Gauguin became the godfather of Schuffenecker’s son Paul (iR3).
Schuffenecker introduced Gauguin to Guillaumin and Pissarro (R9;R3;R54,p35;R55). Yet Rewald mentions that Gauguin was introduced to Pissarro by Arosa (R1,p409). Gauguin moved in 1884 to Denmark, Copenhagen (R36,p14); he would correspond with Schuffenecker (R1,p496;R54,p243vv), as he would do later on (R1,p550). Schuffenecker (and Guillaumin) invited Gauguin to exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants, but probably Gauguin rejected because the standard was not high enough for him (R1,p514).
Gauguin more than once lodged at Schuffenecker his house; after he returned from Denmark in June 1885, after his stays in Martinique (1887) and Arles (1888) (R54,p36;R5,p157+165;iR3;R36,p14+81). Schuffenecker would (around 1887) introduce George Daniel de Monfreid to Gauguin (R54,p85). Schuffenecker also would support him financially until 1891 (R3;R88); he tried to do so also by suggesting to buy a work of Cézanne that Gauguin owned (R6,p202). Schuffenecker also supported Gauguin with practical things (R181,no208;R88I,p835). In 1889 their friendship degraded and broke-up in January 1891 (R54,p36+111;R9;R88I,p836). Schuffenecker wrote ‘Nor as men, nor as artists we are made to live next to each other. (…) I am determent to isolate myself.’, but he didn’t want to part as enemies. (R54,p113+261). There were rumours that his wife had betrayed him (iR3) (by an affair with Gauguin?). Still in 1889 Gauguin and Bernard work in his studio, in 1890 Gauguin lodged with Schuffenecker and in 1893 Schuffenecker takes care of the affairs of Gauguin (R54,p36;R88I,p836) and sold works for Gauguin (R88I,p836/7;R54,p14). The definitive break would be in 1895 (R54,p115).
Some sources state that Gauguin depreciated and mocked Schuffenecker his art-work (R3;R9).

Schuffenecker as part of the Pont-Aven group:
In 1886 in Pont-Aven Schuffenecker introduced Gauguin and Bernard to each other (R16;R54,p36+59;iR70;R1,p537;R88). Just before 1886 Schuffenecker stayed in Concarneau (R54,p36), just west of Pont-Aven at the Brittany peninsula (iR9). In 1888 also Sérusier also was present in Pont-Aven (R54,p89). These artists and others also did meet in Pouldu (R54,p89). The style this group developed is called Cloisonnism and Synthetism. Schuffenecker his home in Paris became a meeting place for these painters (R54,p97;R3). In 1889 Gauguin and Bernard work in his studio (R54,p36). Schuffenecker his style developed in a more free style with ample highlighted arabesques surrounding the colours (R9). When I look at his paintings I can only find a few paintings in a clear cloisonnistic style, but they date from 1921 (R54,p181). Wardwell Lee confirms that Schuffenecker didn’t adopt this style, but continued painting naturalistic landscapes, with an impressionist orientation (R56). Schuffenecker also became befriended with Sérusier, Denis and Laval (R56).
1889/06/08 was the start of ‘L’exposition d’oeuvres du groupe impressionnistes et synthétiques’ in café Volpini, organised by Gauguin and Schuffenecker and partly as an alternative for the Exposition Universelle, where their works were refused (aR1=iR19;R88I,p836;R9;iR70;R5,p169;R3;R54,p36;R56). Bernard made a caricature of himself, Gauguin and Schuffenecker (R5,p170). Schuffenecker exhibited 20 works (iR19; note: not 15 as some sources mention R9;iR24). Most exhibitors belonged to the Pont-Aven group (iR69). Schuffenecker also invited Eléanor (Louis) Roy (iR69). The term Synthetism was coined to this exhibition. Synthetism ‘should be a synthesis of three features: the outward appearance of natural forms, the artist’s feelings about his subject, and purely aesthetic considerations of line, colour, and form’ (iR70). They excluded Neo-Impressionists like Seurat, Signac, Cross and Pissarro (R54,p98;iR70;R56). See link for an impression of his exhibited pictures. See link for an accountNote: Gibson writes that Schuffenecker helped organizing these exhibitions for 3 years (R56), but this was a one-time exhibition.

Schuffenecker, a Symbolist painter:
Gauguin wrote in a letter to Schuffenecker (1888/08/14) ‘Don’t copy too much from nature – art is an abstraction’ and adviced him to dream and create (R54,p249;R181,p469;R88I,p836). Thus stimulating Schuffenecker to leave Impressionism behind and develop symbolist paintings. 1889 onwards Schuffenecker started to paint in a Symbolist style (R54,p110). In the same year he met Redon, with whom he painted together many times until Redon’s death in 1916 (R54,p36+110;R88I,p836). Note: I assume they met already in 1886 when they both exhibited at the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition. 1892 onwards Schuffenecker is influenced by Les Nabis (Ranson, Denis, Maillol, Sérusier) (R54,p36), but I understand that he never was part of this group (R289). Around 1890-96 Schuffenecker started to get interested in the Theosophical ideas of Madame Blavatsky and later joined the movement of the Rosicrusians (R54,p36+119vv;R9). In 1892 Schuffenecker is mentioned as partaker of the 1st Salon de la Rose+Croix, but there are no titles rendered (iR1;iR40;R256) and according to Porro he didn’t exhibit (R54,p119). Schuffenecker painted in this period mysterious, elusive landscapes; many in the surroundings of Étretat and many in pastel (R9;R55). The small figures in his landscapes more than once became more esotheric and ghost-like (R54,p121).

Schuffenecker as an artist; general remarks:
Schuffenecker was befriended with Gauguin, from 1872 untill Gauguin his death in 1903, though there had been tensions in this relationship↑. Around 1879 Schuffenecker had contacts with Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillaumin (R54,p35+44;R3). And later on with Bernard in Concarneau (1886), Redon and Louis (Eléonor) Roy (R54,p35-37;R3;iR70;iR3;iR69;R6,p205;R17,p301). December 1888 Schuffenecker wrote he saw no one else than Guillaumin (R179,p44). The friendship with Bernard would last till Schuffenecker his death (R55), they corresponded frequently (R54,p255vv). By his friends he was called ‘Schuff’ (R16;R54).
Schuffenecker often worked on the spot (R54,p16+265). He is praised for his snowy landscapes (R90I,p437+454;R54,p16). Bernard (1938) praised him for ’the sentimental tenderness of its atmosphere effects’ (R54,p231). Some state that his work show little personality (R1,p522). Other praise his originality (R54,p277). He himself thought art above all had to be musical; line is like a melody and colour like a symphony (R54,p148+155).
Schuffenecker also was an art-teacher. From 1882 till 1914: Schuffenecker teached drawing in Vanves, together with his friend Louis Roy (R54,p35+47;R3;R9;R56;iR70;iR3;R88); Vanves lies just south of Paris (iR9).
Schuffenecker also was an art-collector. He was one of the first collectors of works by Vincent van Gogh (iR3;iR41). He also owned works of Cézanne, Daubigny, Degas, Delacroix, Gauguin, Redon and Bernard (iR3;R54,p46+57+14+231). His collecting of art extended after he had received a large inheritence in 1880 (R54,p46). In 1903 there had been a sale of a part of his collection (R54,p36). This was after his divorce in 1903; part of his collection he yielded to his brother Amedée (R54,p153). (Another source suggests this sale was in 1906, the collection containing works of Cézanne, Gauguin, Redon and Van Gogh; iR3).
Schuffenecker has been suspected of being an art forger, of imitating and ‘finishing’ works of contemporary artists, including works of Cézanne, Daubigny and Van Gogh (iR3;iR41). Research after these accusations are still going on (iR3;R209).
There is not much known about his personality. Around 1896 Schuffenecker wrote that life has constantly humiliated and frightened him and the he has a wounded heart (R54,p29). Some call him a ’tender and sensitive soul’ (R54,p270).

A short biography of Claude-Émile Schuffenecker:

  • 1851/12/08: Claude-Émile Schuffenecker was born in Fresne Saint-Mamès (Haute-Saône) (R54,p22+168;R88;iR24;iR1;R3;R9;iR3), about 350km south-east of Paris and 110km west of the Swiss border (iR9).
  • 1852: his parents moved to Paris (R54,p35)
  • 1854: his father died (R54,p22;iR4)
  • 1854: birth of his brother Amédée (iR3)
  • his mother, Anne Monnet (1836-1907) moved to Meudon (iR3), just south-west of Paris (iR9)
  • 1854: the children were raised by the mother’s sister Anne Fauconnet Monnet and her husband Pierre Cornu in Paris (iR3;R54,p35+22)
  • 1872/02/28: Schuffenecker started working at Bertin, a stock exchange agency  (iR3;R54,p35). According to other sources in 1871 (R3;R88;iR70), but probably this was the year that Gauguin started there (1871/04/25) (R36,p13;R37,p357/8;R6,p196).
  • 1877-78: Schuffenecker lived at 13, Rue Vavin, Paris (iR1;R54,p224), in the 6th arrondissement, close to the Jardin du Luxembourg (iR9).
    Other sources mention he lived in Meudon untill 1878 (R54,p224)
  • 1879: Schuffenecker lived at 36, Rue Vavin, Paris (iR1;R54,p224)
  • 1880/10: Claude-Émile Schuffenecker married Louise-Virginie Lançon, a cousin of his (R54,p46+19+35;iR3).
  • 1880-84: Schuffenecker lived at 55, Boulevard Edgar-Quinet, Paris (iR1;R285,p1560), a bit more south in the 14th arrondissement (iR9) according to another source this was since the end of 1879 (R54,p224).
  • 1881: birth of his daughter Jeanne-Joséphine; she died 1979 and conserved the legacy of her father (R54,p19+35+232); other sources mention she was born in 1882 (iR3).
  • 1884: birth of his son Paul, who died in 1918 (R54,p19+36;iR3)
  • 1885+86: Schuffenecker lived at 29, Rue Boulard, Paris (R2,p446;R36,p14), also in the 14th arrondissement (iR9); another source mentions that he lived here from 1880-89 (R54,p224), but the Salon database makes clear this was not earlier than after Spring 1881 (iR1).
  • 1887: stayed in Étretat and Yport (R54,p36) at the Normandy coast (iR9)
  • 1889?-90: Schuffenecker lived at 12, Rue Alfred Durand Claye (R54,p224), at the western edge of the 14th arrondissement (iR9).
  • 1890?-1906: Schuffenecker lived at 4, Rue Paturle (R54,p224), this was close by his previous address (iR9). Note: Jean Monneret renders it (wrongly) as 4 rue Paturie, Paris (R285,p1560).
  • 1892: stayed with Bernard in Étretat (R54,p36)
  • 1893: stayed in Dieppe (R54,p36), more north of the Normandy coast (iR9)
  • 1896/02/24 – 03/16: small solo exhibition showing 17 paintings and 3 pastels in the ‘Librairie de l’Art Indépendant’ (aR2=iR19).
  • 1903: his marriage ended (R54,p36;R88I,p837); already in 1899 his wife demanded a divorce; she won the right of custody over their children (iR3). Already around 1886 Gauguin wrote about her that Émile Schuffenecker was ‘annoyed’ by this ‘bitch’ (R88I,p835).
  • 1906: Schuffenecker lived at 14, rue Durand-Claye, Paris (iR3), which I couldn’t locate (iR9).
  • 1907: Schuffenecker lived at 2, passage de Dantzig, Paris (R285,p1560).
  • 1918: his son Paul died (R54,p37)
  • 1926: Schuffenecker lived at 108, Rue Olivier de Serres (see catalogue of the 36th Salon des Indépendants of 1926;iR40)
  • 1933: Schuffenecker was appointed in the Légion d’Honneur (R54,p162).
  • 1934: untill his death Schuffenecker lived at 108, Rue Olivier de Serres (R54,p224;iR40).
  • 1934/07/31: death of Claude-Émile Schuffenecker in Paris, 33, Rue Olivier de Serres (R54,p168+37;iR3;iR24;iR69;R3;R9), this road in now in the 15th arrondissement (iR9), but the death certificate was made up in the 5th arrondissement (R54,p168). He was buried at the Montparnasse cemetery on the 3th of August (iR3;R54,p168), in the 14th arrondissement (iR9). Some sources mention he died in August 1934 (R24;R79;R81;R2).
  • 1936: Mme Schuffenecker lived at 108, Rue Olivier de Serres in the 15th arrondissement (see catalogue of the 46th Salon des Indépendants of 1936; iR40)
  • 1941/10/31: his grandson Jacques Schuffenecker is born. He will become a painter in a Realist and Post-Cubism style (iR69).

There are just a few pictures of Schuffenecker rendered in books about Impressionism (R1,p523;R3,p416+421;R9,p661;R16,p298). The main info that is rendered, is that he joined the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition and that he was a close friend of Paul Gauguin.
My main source is René Porro (1992=R54). Other main sources are Rewald (1973,R1), Moffett (1986, R2), Walther (2013, R3,p695), Denvir (1993, R5), Pool (1987,R6), Schurr & Cabanne (2008=R9,p660/1), Spiess (1993,R16,p298), Dony (1976=R36), Monneret (1978-81=R88I,p834-837), House (1979=R55,p126/7), Wardwell Lee (1988=R56,p82), Crussard (2002=R181,p168+353), Wikipedia (iR3), (iR19=aR1+aR2), the RKD (iR24), BNF (iR26; iR40), Bénézit (iR69), Groove Art (iR70), askart (iR41)  and the Salon database (iR1). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-Athenaeum (iR2), Wikimedia (iR6), Mutual-art (iR11), Art-net (iR13), Sothebys (iR14), Christies (iR15), Joconde (iR23) and Google Images (iR10). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading see:
Thieme Becker (R79,Vol.30,p320); Bénézit (R75,1976, Vol.9,p448; R76,1999,Vol.12,p542/3), Busse (R77,1977,p1133), Witt (R78,p279), Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (R81,1999-2000, Vol.9,p84). (iR24)
Grossvogel, Jill-Elyse: Catalogue Raisonné, vol.1. San Francisco, 2000. (in English; iR24=R209)
Grossvogel, Jill-Elyse & Catherine Puget: Emile Schuffenecker 1851-1934; exhibition catalogue. Musée de Pont-Aven, 1996 (in French; iR24;iR3).
Grossvogel, Jill-Elyse: Claude Emile Schuffenecker, 1851-1934; exhibition catalogue. Binghamton, 1980. (iR70;iR69;R2,p504;R56;R56)
Paul, Charles-Guy le &G. Dudensig: Gauguin et Schuffenecker. Bulletin des Amis du Musée de Rennes, no.2, special edition on Pont-Aven. Rennes, 1978. (iR69;R2,p504)
Claude-Emile Schuffenecker and the school of Pont-Aven; exhibition catalogue. Regina, 1977 (R2,p504).
Fouquet, J.: Emile Schuffenecker: 60 pastels, 40 dessins. Paris, 1963. (iR70;R56)
Boudot-Lamotte, Maurice: Le peintre et collectionneur Claude-Emile Schuffenecker (1851-1934). L’Amour de l’Art XVII/8, October 1936 (iR3).

Additional references:

  1. (catalogue of the Volpini exhibition in 1889; =iR19)
  2. (catalogue of the 1896 solo exhibition; =iR19


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Émile Schuffenecker, from Impressionism to Symbolism. Last modified 2024/01/30.