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 Frederic Bazille  (1841 - 1870)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: impressionist painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A painter of landscapes and figures in landscapes in traditional style, Jean Frederic Bazille was born in Montpelier, France to a wealthy family whose members were patrons of the arts and especially supportive of Impressionist painters.  As a young artist in mid-century Paris, Bazille began associating with revolutionary painters, especially Impressionists, but he retained his own style, which was more moderate.

He studied with Charles Gleyre, a Swiss painter, whose Impressionist style had influenced James McNeill Whistler and many others.  Through Gleyre, Bazille met Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and they became his close friends.  He did plein-air painting with them in Fontainebleau and Normandy, but as stated, did not adopt their Impressionism.

In the 1860s, he began exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon including Family Reunion, an outdoor portraiture group.

At age 29, in 1870, Frederic Bazille was killed in the Franco-Prussian War.


Biography from Claude Aguttes:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in 1841 and destined for medicine by his family, Frederic Bazille could not resist the call of painting, his true vocation. He moved to Paris in 1862 and joined the studio of Gleyre where he met Monet and Renoir, with whom he was to share a studio as of 1865.

Very soon, he became part of a group of highly talented artists and, in particular, mixed with Degas, Sisley, Manet, Cezanne and Pissarro. A great admirer of Delacroix, Bazille may be familiar to us because he served as a model in Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, and was repeatedly by his artist friends, by Renoir in particular.

He represented himself in his studio in rue de la Condamine in 1870, accompanied by Monet, Manet, Zola and Renoir. A shooting star of the art scene due to his early death at 29 years during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, he did work that prefigures what was to become known as Impressionism thanks to his choice of subjects taken from contemporary life, the light hues of his palette and his rejection of Academic painting.

His modernity in terms of style and subject didn’t, however, lead him to forget the importance of the line. He sought to restitute tangible, concrete nature of reality, not wanting to 'paint only the appearance of things.'

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