Berthon, Paul Emile (1872-1909) - French

Despite his very short life, it is impossible not to rank Berthon among the greatest masters of this entire turn-of-the-century movement.

Unlike most Art Nouveau posters, Berthon's panneaux decoratifs included no advertising and no letterpress. They were meant to stand alone as significant works of art in their own right.

A very gifted posterist and illustrator, and a pupil of Eugene Samuel Grasset, who created some of the most endearing images of women.

Towards end of the 1800s with the rise of the middle class, there was an explosion of interest in the decorative arts, set off by the work of Eugene Samuel Grasset and Alponse Mucha.  Along with their artworks, the lithographs by Paul Berthon stand alone with deft craftsmanship and elegance.  Berthon was a painter, lithographer, commercial artist of magazine covers and a designer of furniture and ceramics.  He studied as a painter in Villefranche before going to Paris in 1893.  Although he continued to study in Paris, his greatest influence was that of Eugene Samuel Grasset, another towering figure with Mucha.

Berthon's early graphic works show a similar style to those of Grasset.  Later as Berthon grew as an artist, he began using a pastel colored palette, with strongly defined patterns and with a Japanese influence that made him achieve wide appeal.

Paul Berthon died at the untimely age of 37.

View all artwork in our Gallery by Paul Emile Berthon