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Frédéric Bazille

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Frédéric Bazille
Frédéric Bazille, Self-portrait, 1865–1866, oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago
Jean Frédéric Bazille

(1841-12-06)6 December 1841
Died28 November 1870(1870-11-28) (aged 28)
Known forPainting

Jean Frédéric Bazille (December 6, 1841 – November 28, 1870) was a French Impressionist painter. Many of Bazille's major works are examples of figure painting in which he placed the subject figure within a landscape painted en plein air.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Studio in Rue de La Condamine, 1870, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Among Bazille's friends portrayed are Pierre-Auguste Renoir sitting, and Édouard Manet next to Bazille, who portrays himself painting.[2]

Frédéric Bazille was born in Montpellier, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, into a wealthy wine merchant Protestant family. Bazille grew up in the Le Domaine de Méric, a wine-producing estate in Castelnau-le-Lez, near Montpellier, owned by his family.[3] He became interested in painting after seeing some works of Eugène Delacroix. His family agreed to let him study painting, but only if he also studied medicine.[1]

Bazille began studying medicine in 1859, and moved to Paris in 1862 to continue his studies. There he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley, was drawn to Impressionist painting, and began taking classes in Charles Gleyre's studio. After failing his medical exam in 1864, he began painting full-time. His close friends included Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Édouard Manet. Bazille was generous with his wealth and helped support his less fortunate associates by giving them space in his studio and materials to use.[1]

Bazille was just twenty-three years old when he painted several of his best-known works, including The Pink Dress (c. 1864, Musée d'Orsay, Paris). This painting combines a portrait-like depiction of Bazille's cousin, Thérèse des Hours, who is seen from behind—and the sunlit landscape at which she gazes.[4] His best-known painting is Family Reunion, painted 1867–1868 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

Frédéric Bazille joined a Zouave regiment in August 1870, a month after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. On November 28 of that year, he was with his unit at the Battle of Beaune-la-Rolande when, his officer having been injured, he took command and led an assault on the German position. He was hit twice in the failed attack and died on the battlefield at the age of twenty-eight. His father travelled to the battlefield a few days later to take his body back for burial at Montpellier in the Protestant cemetery over a week later.[5][6]

Main works[edit]


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille painting The Heron

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Frédéric Bazille: A Tragic Story". WetCanvas. Archived from the original on July 26, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  2. ^ The Art Book. Phaidon Press. 1994. p. 33. ISBN 91-0-056859-7.
  3. ^ "Domaine de Méric - Ville de Montpellier". montpellier.fr. January 8, 2015. Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  4. ^ Rosenblum, 1989, p. 225
  5. ^ Gotlieb, Marc (2016). The Deaths of Henri Regnault. University of Chicago Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-226-27604-5.
  6. ^ "Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism". www.nga.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-19.


  • Pitman, Dianne W. (1998). Bazille: Purity, Pose and Painting in the 1860s. University Park: Penn State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-01700-6.
  • Rosenblum, Robert (1989). Paintings in the Musée d'Orsay. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. ISBN 1-55670-099-7

External links[edit]