Portrait, landscape, & genre painter, Francois Bernard is known in Louisiana primarily for his portraits in oil, pastel, & watercolor. He was probably born Nimes, France.
François Bernard (French-born Louisiana painter, 1812–a 1880) Choctaw Village Near Chefuncte
He studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts at Paris & Collin' & exhibited in the Paris salon between 1842 & 1849. His portraits of Louisiana residents are dated as early as 1848, when he apparently was visiting. Bernard returned in Dec. 1856, to settle in New Orleans, supposedly at the invitation of a group of sugar planters who wanted him to paint their portraits. He worked in New Orleans during the winter months & traveled as an itinerant painter in the summer. It is probable that Bernard returned to France during these travels, since his children were born there (ca. 1857 & ca. 1862). He seems to have left New Orleans during the Civil War & traveled, especially around Mandeville, Louisiana, where he painted local Native Americans. In February of 1867, it was reported that he had returned to the city.
François Bernard (French-born Louisiana painter, 1812–a 1880) Two Chitimacha Indians
He exhibited in New Orleans at Wageners in 1867; at the Grand State Fair in 1868; at Wagener & Meyer's from 1869-71; & at the American Exposition from 1885-6. About 1875, Bernard left New Orleans for Peru.