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Artists Frédéric Bazille
Frédéric Bazille Photo

Frédéric Bazille

French Painter

Movements and Styles: Realism, Impressionism

Born: December 5, 1841 - Montepellier, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Died: November 28, 1870 - Beaune-la-Rolande, France

Frédéric Bazille Timeline

Quotes

"His paintings have really progressed, I'm sure it will attract a lot of attention. He has sold thousands of franc's worth of paintings in the last few days, and has one or two other small commissions. He's definitely on his way."
Bazille on his friend Monet
"It is really too ridiculous for a reasonably intelligent person to expose himself to this kind of administrative caprice."
Bazille on Paris Salon admission practices
"The tall fellow Bazille has done something I find quite fine: a young girl in a very light dress in the shadow of a tree beyond which one sees a town. There is a good deal of light, sunlight, He is trying to do what we [Berthe Morisot and her sister Edma both painted, then] have so often tried to bring off: to paint a figure in the open air. This time I think he has succeed."
Berthe Morisot

"The big classical compositions are finished; an ordinary view of daily life would be much more interesting."

Frédéric Bazille Signature

Synopsis

Frédéric Bazille had both exquisite timing and terrible luck. He was one of a group of radical, iconoclastic artists in early 1860s Paris - Manet, Monet, and Renoir among them - to turn the artistic establishment upside down with their revolutionary new approach to painting. Manet was something of a mentor and certainly a good friend to Bazille. Bazille received only a relatively limited amount of formal academic artistic instruction but his close alliances with fellow artists, including sharing studios with the likes of Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, helped shape his style. His paintings were just as often accepted as refused by the official Salon and, while he adopted some of the techniques and formal qualities of the Impressionist style, his work remained Realist except in the realm of subject matter. He was a pioneer in creating compositional strategies for situating human figures in outdoor settings and integrating them with the atmospheric effects of a given locale. He worked often in his studio but was also an advocate of painting en plein air, which Monet had encouraged him to do from early on. Bazille received positive support from important critics of the day and his career was taking very promising shape when he was killed just before his 29th birthday in a battle during the Franco-Prussian War.

Key Ideas

Bazille is regarded as one of the innovators of the Impressionist style even though he never exhibited his work with other members of the group. The first Impressionist exhibition took place in 1874, almost four years after his death and not one work by Bazille was displayed at the show. Despite being directly associated with important Impressionists like Monet and Renoir, his style was far more that of a Realist, sharing common formal features with the art of Courbet and Manet's earlier, pre-Impressionist paintings.
Bazille had been encouraged by his good friend Monet to go outside to paint rather than confining himself to his studio. Together the two painters went to the countryside, often accompanied by other artists, so that they could paint in nature or en plein air. It was in his efforts to successfully integrate the human figure into a modern, Impressionist landscape where Bazille moved into more radical artistic terrain. In Bazille's harmonious, modernist compositions, the figure, whether nude or clothed registered the effects of light and other atmospheric phenomena like the other objects in the picture. While he incorporated modern compositional strategies such as unusual cropping that mimicked the cropping of a photograph and vantage points at extreme angles, Bazille's painting style, which could sometimes appear less restrained if not loose and varied like the brushstrokes of the Impressionist style, was much more controlled. Contours tended to be sharply defined, surfaces smooth and highly finished, and his palette was typically darker than that of most Impressionist works.

Biography

Frédéric Bazille Photo

Childhood and Education

Frédéric Bazille, born Jean-Frédéric, was born into a wealthy family with ancient roots in the South of France. He was born on the family's estate, Meric, outside of Montpellier on December 5th (some sources say the 6th) in 1841. The Bazille family had settled in the area at least as early as the 13th century. He came from a family of artisans, including an 18th-century ancestor who was a master arquebusier, "a renowned weapons specialist and producer of luxury works of art ... who worked for the king." Eventually, the family channeled their artisanal skills into goldsmithing with which they earned a reputation for excellence as well as their fortune. One of the family treasures, which had eventually made its way to his mother, Camille Vialars Bazille, was a famously beautiful and extravagant ring "of diamonds with seven rosette stones" designed by Daniel Bazille in 1720.

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Frédéric Bazille Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Frédéric Bazille
Interactive chart with Frédéric Bazille's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Andrea de MantegnaAndrea de Mantegna
Paolo VeronesePaolo Veronese
Eugène DelacroixEugène Delacroix
Jean-Baptiste-Camille CorotJean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Henri RousseauHenri Rousseau

Personal Contacts

Claude MonetClaude Monet
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Alfred SisleyAlfred Sisley
Émile ZolaÉmile Zola
Édouard ManetÉdouard Manet

Movements

RealismRealism
ImpressionismImpressionism

Influences on Artist
Frédéric Bazille
Frédéric Bazille
Years Worked: 1864 - 1870
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Paul CézannePaul Cézanne

Personal Contacts

Claude MonetClaude Monet
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir

Movements

ImpressionismImpressionism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
CubismCubism

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