François Marius Valère-Bernard was a pupil of Alexandre Cabanel at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1882. He learned etching from Félicien Rops. In 1888 he settled in Marseilles where he founded the magazine Zou together with the Marseilles poet Louis Astruc. Valère-Bernard published several novels and collections of poetry, and taught aesthetics at the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseilles. He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1921.
As an artist, he brought Symbolism to every area of his activities; he worked for a chromolithographer, joined the Hydropathes (a group of artists, writers and performers) and practised occultism in Montparnasse. He published two works in 1895: Guerro, a collection of 14 etchings, and Le Christ aux Enfers. He painted Industry for the town hall in La Ciotat, a Life of St Lawrence for the church of St-Laurent, and a Life of St Roseline for the church of La Bédoule. He sculpted Corsican Mourner for the St-Pierre Cemetery in Marseilles, and a low relief in bronze for the entrance of the École des Arts et Métiers in Aix-en-Provence. He built a harmonium, for which Karol Bérard composed some colour-themed music. His son Casimir executed a bust of his father which is preserved in the Museon Arlaten in Arles.
He took part in group exhibitions including the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon de l'Association des Artistes Marseillais, the Société des Artistes Provençaux and the Salon de la Société d'Art Occitan. A major retrospective held at the Palais Longchamp in Marseilles in 1981 brought him to the attention of the public.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Arles: Lady of the Bat, the Countess (La Dame del Rat-Penat, la Comtessa) (decorative panel); Entrance of Pierre I into Toulouse (decorative panel); Phryne (marble, statuette)
Marseilles (MBA): Head of Orpheus (marble and onyx, high relief); the complete collection of the Valère-Bernard's engravings
Marseilles (Mus. Cantini): Woman with Rock; Spring
Marseilles (Mus. du Vieux Marseille): Founding of Marseilles; Portrait of Anna Valère Bernard-Boudouresque; Self-portrait; Beggars in the Sun; Unloading Oranges in the Old Port