A large painting ‘Régates à Henley’, dated 1924, hangs in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
Jacques-Emile Blanche was born in Paris on 1st February 1861 the son of Dr Emile-Antoine Blanche, perhaps the most famous psychiatrist of his day. His father often treated important figures from the artistic community of Paris, both artists and writers, and many became regular visitors to their house encouraging the young Jacques-Emile in his endeavours to paint.
He received his formal training under Henri Gervex and Fernand Humbert and made his exhibiting debut in Paris at the Salon de la Nationale des Beaux-Arts in the first year of its establishment, later becoming a member in 1890. He also exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries and was awarded the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.
He regularly visited England, retaining dual nationality and staying with various influential relations in London and Brighton, who introduced him into English society. He exhibited at most of the major venues in London including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Oils. In 1887 he was elected a member of the New English Art Club and a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1905.
Blanche was also an art critic of repute, being especially noteworthy for his tolerance towards the new movements of cubism and surrealism and for his many sensitive insights. Through his father’s profession and through his own activities he came to meet many of the figures at the forefront of the avant-garde movements, often painting their portraits. Of these, perhaps the most notable are Andre Gide, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, Maeterlinck, Debussy and Igor Stravinsky. With a reputation of the highest standing, and having been created a Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, Jacques-Emile Blanche died at Offranville in Normandy in 1942.
Examples of his works are in numerous leading public collections including twenty-six paintings in the Musée du Petit-Palais in Paris, seven paintings in the Musée d’Art Moderne, and others in the city museums of Brussels, Dieppe, Dijon, Lyon, Mulhouse and Rouen.