Georges Binet

Georges Binet

1865 – 1949

Georges Binet was born April 30, 1865 in Le Havre.  An undisciplined student, Binet was interested in everything, but worried little about grades.  He enjoyed mathematics and science, and was drawn to chemistry, astronomy, and paleontology, but was always especially fascinated by drawing and painting.  He sketched continuously – recording the people and scenes that he saw. By the age of 14, his parents recognized his extraordinary talent and Binet left secondary school to begin studies at the L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts du Havre under the tutelage of a local artist, L’Huiller.

At 18, he went to Paris and was admitted into the workshop of Raphael Collin. Binet took full advantage of the city, spending hours in the museums and passing time with other young artists. However, his service was required by the army and he left Paris for Latour-Maubourg.

Upon his discharge, he immediately resumed his painting at the workshop of Fernand Cormon, one of the premiere professors of L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Binet remained with Cormon for several years and his influence can be seen in his earlier canvases. He began exhibiting at the Salon des Artistes Français and le Salon de l’Epoque and was visited by publishers and editors from the newspapers. In 1900, Paris hosted the Exposition Universelle. Binet, the painter, had evolved.  His paintings swarmed with light and with life – everything vibrated.  In 1904, he received a gold medal from the Salon.

The following year, Binet faced tragedy – his father died, prompting the young man to leave Paris and return to Le Havre to be with his mother and establish an atelier of his own.

The move did not impede his work, however, and Binet continued to paint and achieve success in Le Havre. In 1912, he received two gold medals from the Salon and received the honors, with his wife at his side, by the President of the Republic Fallieries. In 1920, Binet exhibited at the Grand Palais au Salon and at the Cercle Volnay; he continued to participate annually in both exhibitions. In 1930, the newspaper Illustration published several color pages of beaches by Georges Binet. In 1937, he was honored as Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his works. The city of Le Havre commissioned a large triptych of the town for its City Hall.  The work was completed in 1938, but was destroyed during the bombardment of World War II.

At the end of World War II, despite having fled his home and reaching old age, Binet continued to paint and returned to Normandy and Paris.  At the age of 83, he painted his last picture – a large floral – before he died on July 9, 1949.  Shortly before his death, he said to his son, Jean-Georges, “I had a magnificent life and I achieved what I wanted to.  My profession has been the most beautiful, the most fascinating and the most independent there is.”

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