Eugène Burnand (1850-1921)
This is in the Musee d'Orsay

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Books about this artist

There is a new book (September 2021) about Julia Burnand (1851-1921), Eugene's wife.   "A Mother's Gifts", compiled by Jocelyn Campbell, who is a granddaughter of Eugene and Julia, has used a rich archive of watercolours and poetry that Julia created in journals for her twin daughters, who were the lastborn after a large family of  boys. It is in English but the original french version is in the appendix. It has been beautifully translated by Sue Nicholson. Jocelyn has combined Julia's rich pictures,  revelatory poetry and aphorisms in a way that reveals so much that we need to know about the nature and character of a wife and mother who avoided the limelight that followed her husband. Nobody can fail to find something of interest and intrigue in this book that was intended to pass on what she had learnt about life to her daughters who were starting theirs. 
Available from Hayloft Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-910237-51-9



Eugene Burnand. La passion de peindre. Editions Favre SA. Lausanne. © 2017 ISBN:978-2-8289-1645-9
This book is thinner than his previous books on Burnand. but still copiously illustrated. For the general reader this makes it so much better. Kaenel is thoroughly academic and this approach has made the previous books heavy going for non-academics. In this book he has lightened up to a degree and turned out something that is more of a biography with a synthesis of Burnand's personal development and its relation to his work, which changed dramatically over his lifetime. The resulting transformation is still something that Kaenel deals with in a matter of fact way, and which I think doesn't adequately do justice to his accomplishments. The artist's later life is dealt with more thoroughly this time, partly as a result of the discovery in an attic cupboard in his Sepey house, the artist's Journal de Guerre, which was believed lost. It was found by his granddaughter the late Frederique Burnand just a few years ago and has provided a new insight into his turbulent years during WW1. This detail is not covered in the book, which I think is a shame, and exemplifies Kaenel's objective approach. The 103 military portraits are covered quite well here at last with many illustrations of them, but my feeling is that Kaenel does not see them as great art, and he is probably right, but to me they should be taken together as a body, and as such they show Burnand's great skill (he beautified them all slightly), his great humanity, and enormous depth of perception of personality, which he also saw in the animals he painted 30 years before.
It is written in French, which means I may have missed some important aspects, and makes it unavailable to non french speakers. It is a thoroughly good book and I think it should be translated into English. I believe it would find a market in the English speaking world.

New book in English about Eugene Burnand
It is the first book in English about Eugene Burnand and is available from July 2016. Author Shirley Darlington has chronicled the events concerning the discovery of this artist by the author of this site (me, Doug Jenkinson), and our endeavours together to gain more information and reveal some of the things that were mysterious to us about his life and work. The main thrust of the book is to focus on the WW1 pastels, but includes all the other main aspects of his art. It is copiously and beautifully illustrated and describes the artist's character, motivations, and our visits to various locations to further our research, including Paris, Moudon and Assisi.
"Eugene Burnand. In Search of the Swiss Artist (1850-1921)". Shirley Darlington, Uniform, ISBN 978-1-910500-50-7 (£18-99) Also available from Amazon 

Eugène Burnand's biography was written by his son René and published in 1926. His father kept detailed notes of most things and was a most methodical man. Thus this a comprehensive and knowledgeable work, amply illustrated given the limitations of the time. Full of reminiscences and anecdotes, it gives an insightful view of the way he lived and worked. Not just a very talented man artistically, but a family man, and a sober and virtuous one too. Eugène Burnand, the man, the artist and his work. René Burnand. Pub. Berger-Levrault, Paris 1926. It is easily available on online antique bookstores.

The best book of recent times about the works of Eugène Burnand was written (in French) in 2004 for a major retrospective exhibition at the Musée cantonal des beaux-arts in Lausanne the same year. It is "Eugène Burnand, peintre naturaliste" by Philippe Kaenel (Professor of Art History at Lausanne University) ISBN:88-7439-104-8. It is a comprehensive, scholarly and analytical work, full of the artist's pictures. It is currently out of print but available online from used book stores. Of the several reviews of this book, and assessments of this artist, the best I have seen, and in English, is by Gabriel P. Weisberg, professor of Art History at Minnesota University. This is a link to this excellent review

There is a slightly slimmer softcover version of the above book by Philippe Kaenel entitled La peinture d'après nature. Éditions Cabédita 2006. ISBN 2-88295-469-7 It is available at the Moudon museum and from booksellers.

Between 1917 and 1920 Burnand produced 104 pastel portraits of participants in the Great War on the Allied side. 100 were published in a book in 1922,"Les Alliés Dans La Guerre Des Nations". These have a dominant place on this site. There are two editions, one with 100 pictures, 80 in colour, 20 in black and white, and one with 80 pictures all in colour. These (mainly 80 picture variant) are available from online antique bookstores from around €350.

The Département of La Meuse (the location of the battle of Verdun), in association with the Legion of Honour museum in Paris, produced in 2010 a book of 102 of the pastels (although it strangely claims 104), each put in its historic context, as part of a special exhibition at Verdun and as a contribution to the then forthcoming WW1 centenary events. "PORTRAITS DE LA GRANDE GUERRE" is written with relevant backgound military notes and commentaries by Xavier Boniface, professor of contemporary history, Université du littoral Côte d'Opale, ISBN:978-2-11-0993489. It is available at the Legion of Honour museum (€29. It no longer appears available online from booksellers.    All the portraits are reproduced to a very high quality in colour. The notes are very informative.