Georges, Jules, Victor Clairin

Georges, Jules, Victor Clairin

Biography of Georges, Jules, Victor Clairin ( 1843-1919 )

A student of Isodire Pils and Picot at the Fine Arts School in Paris, Georges Clairin worked mainly with his close friend, the artist Henri Regnault. They travelled together to Brittany, then to Spain and Morocco where they remained in 1869 and 1870. They both had to come back to France for the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, where Regnault died.

After the war, Clairin came back to Morocco where he stayed for 18 months, finding his inspiration among the city of Tangier, Fez and Tetuan. He was particularly fascinated by the thrilling events of the 'fantasias'. These staged battles involved hundreds of Arab horsemen galloping and showing their weapons. Memories of these exciting shows were depicted in Clairin's vigorous paintings where the action seemed to spill out of the canvas. He also painted colourful and glamorous portraits of oriental women and belly dancers.

Clairin regularly exhibited his orientalist paintings at the French Orientalist artists Salon in 1909, at the Algerian and Orientalist Artists Salon of Algier, at the Colonial Society of French Artists in 1910, and at the French Artists Salon in 1914. He was awarded several times, and received in 1889 a silver medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. 

A great admirer and close friend of the actress Sarah Bernhardt (he used to have his own studio in her beautiful house in Belle-Île),  he painted several fine portraits of her. A very famous one was exhibited in 1876 in the Petit-Palais in Paris.

Georges Clairin was commissioned for murals for the theaters of Cherbourg and Tours, as well as for the ceiling and the stairs of the Opera Garnier in Paris. He also painted murals for the Sorbonne, for the Bourse and Paris City Hall.

If Clairin was mostly known for his orientalist artworks, the artist also painted various subjects: Venetians balls, ballets and genre scenes.

He received de Legion of Honor in 1897. In 1901, a very important exhibition presented his works at the Galerie Georges Petit.

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