Jacques Beurdeley Biography

Jacques Beurdeley




Jacques Beurdeley was born in Paris on March 3, 1874. His father, Paul Beurdeley, was a lawyer and art lover, a close friend of Puvis and Whistler and a friend of Jules Favre and Gambetta. He was mayor of the eighth arrondissement of Paris for ten eight years. He predestined his son to a legal career, however Jacques Beurdeley quickly escaped from his law studies to attend the workshop of architect Maillart. Attending the School of Fine Arts he became a pupil of Fernand Cormon, where Toulouse Lautrec frequently visited the workshop. There he learned the rigor of the design, the art of composition and sense of balance. The young artist admired both the works of both Charles Méryon and Felix Buhot.

Around 1900, he began drawing and painting the atmosphere of the old districts of Paris and its suburbs by use of strong contrasts of light and shadows. Initiated into intaglio techniques by Auguste Delâtre, etcher and editor of many of the great artists of the time, Beurdeley found his medium in etching. In 1901 his prints were successfully presented for the exhibitions of painters-engravers.

It was a revelation for Jacques Beurdeley when he discovered the cursive and bright etchings by Whistler. His teachers were, in turn, Meryon, Whistler and Corot. His prints began to reflect the snapshot aspect of the airy landscape, rendered in an incisive but always vivid and moving style. Jacques Beurdeley belongs to the great school of landscape engravers who illustrated the nineteenth century with Paul Huet, Corot, Rousseau, and Camille Pissarro.

In 1903 the artist followed in the footsteps of Whistler, which lead him to London on the banks of the Thames and then to Venice and Bruges, Amsterdam and wherever water reflects the thousand caprices of light floods the landscape and winds through the narrow canals of the old cities.

After World War I, when not in Paris, Jacques Beurdeley traveled to Provins for long stays, where he became the artist engraver of Brie. Always seeking  impressions of the morning, he went into the countryside with his sketchbooks and copper plates where he would work directly on the plate. He traveled to his boards sandstone roads, fields, branches and ponds.

Jacques Beurdeley died on 19 December, 1954, at his home in Provins, France