Emilie Charmy was born in Saint-Étienne in 1878, in a family owning a local foundry. She became an orphan at the age of five, when her mother died. His brother Jean became her guardian. In 1898, the two of them left Saint-Etienne and settled in Lyon, where Charmy knew the painter Jacques Martin, who saw in her a precocious talent. She spent time in his workshop and learnt painting techniques. Thanks to her mentor’s modern state of mind, she was educated in a climate of freedom, already far from the academic traditions of her time.
In 1903, Charmy and her brother moved to Saint-Cloud, near Paris. Closer to the Parisian artistic circle, she exhibited her works for the very first time at the Salon des Indépendants. In 1905, Charmy’s work is noticed by the gallerist Berthe Weill, who became her friend. In Weill’s gallery, Charmy was given the opportunity to exhibit her work several times, until 1923.
In 1910, Charmy moved to a studio at 54 rue de Bourgogne, in Paris.
Her first important personal exhibition was in 1911, at the Eugène Druet gallery. Forty paintings of Charmy were shown, among them landscapes, still lives, portraits and twenty-five watercolors.

Between 1911 and 1912, she met the painter George Bouche, with whom she stayed in Marnat (Auvergne) during summer. In fact, he had chosen to settle six months a year there, where he painted large landscapes, nearly abstract works. Charmy discovered Marnat, and continued her search on landscapes and self-portraits. Period of flat tints.
In 1914, Bouche was enlisted for the war, and Charmy remained alone in Marnat. With Bouche, Charmy had a son in 1915, Edmond Bouche, who was immediately sent to a childminder, in Étampes. During the war, Charmy had no choice but to remain in Auvergne.
During the year of 1919, Charmy met Count Etienne de Jouvencel, who supported and promoted her work. He became his main collector, and will communicate his enthusiasm for Charmy’s paintings to the literary and artistic world of the time.
Two important exhibitions of Charmy’s work took place in 1921. In June, the personal exhibition "Toiles", organized by Jouvencel at the Galerie d'oeuvres d'art, 50, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris. The catalogue texts were written by Louis Léon-Martin, Henri Béraud, Roland Dorgelès and Pierre Mac Orlan. The exhibition was a huge success in the press. The second exhibition took place the same year, at the Gallery of Ancient and Modern Art in Paris, whose catalogue was prefaced by the writer Colette. The text was also published in the Revue de Paris.
In 1922, an exhibition was also organized on "the female nude" at the Styles gallery, 50, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris. The exhibition featured works of Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Manet, Renoir and Matisse. Charmy was the only woman among them. She presented two large nudes.
Charmy was decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1926, thanks to the mediation of Elie-Joseph Bois, director of Le Petit Parisien. He introduced her to numerous political figures, including Edouard Daladier, Aristide Briand and Louise Weiss, whom she will be close to.
She was given the opportunity of a personnel exhibition at the Barbazanges gallery in Paris, to which relates an article by Henri Béraud on the first page of Paris-Soir.
Charmy and George Bouche got married in 1931. Charmy exhibited several paintings at the Charpentier gallery in Paris.
Bouche and Charmy went back in Auvergne during the Occupation. George Bouche died in 1941. Charmy continued her work in Auvergne until the end of the war.
After the Liberation, Charmy returned to Paris, and got back to the spacious workshop of rue de Bourgogne. In the years that followed, Charmy continued to paint but she will not  really exhibit her works anymore, except at Jeanne Castel’s in 1949 and 1952. There will also be a personal exhibition in 1963 at the Paul Pétridès Gallery in Paris.
Emilie Charmy dies in Paris in 1974.
Archives Emilie Charmy