Frederic Bazille (1841-1870)
Bazille, one of the founding members of the Impressionist movement was born into a wealthy family of wine producers in Montpelier, France. In 1862, he began to study medicine in Paris. At the same time, he started to attend art lessons with the Swiss painter, Charles Gleyre, who later became known for his role as the teacher of the leading Impressionists. Bazille was then introduced to Renoir, Monet, and Sisley. Through them he met Manet and worked with the Impressionists at Honfleur, in 1864 and later in 1863 at Barbizon. He abandoned his medical studies in 1865. Bazille was well read and cultured. As he was financially more secure than his friends, he often gave them material support and shared his studio with Monet and Renoir. Bazille usually took the main financial responsibility of paying the rent. He was exceptionally generous to Monet and was an ardent supporter of his work. When Monet was in dire financial straits, Bazille bought one of his paintings and tried to help sell others.
Though poles apart, Monet and Bazille were able to develop a fruitful, though slightly competitive partnership. They shared several Paris studios, traveled together, and maintained a lively correspondence. In August of 1870, following France's declaration of war against Prussia, Bazille enlisted. On November 28th, Bazille was killed in a minor skirmish in Burgandy. He was 29 years old.
Frederic was fist introduced to the paintings by Delacroix and Courbet by Alfred Bruyas, a family friend and art collector. Gleyre emphasized the importance of originality, and Bazille once said "Thanks to Gleyre's teaching, I shall at least be able to boast that I have not copied anybody." He was interested in figures rather than pure landscape, and his work is of interest for its exploration of the effects of light on flesh tones (e.g. Family on the Terrace, 1867, Paris, Musee d'Orsay). Much of his work retained a high finish and dark palette (e.g. Negro Woman and Peonies, 1870, Montpellier Musee Fabre).He was also a portraitist and recorder of the Impressionist scene (e.g. Studio in the Rue de la Condamini, 1870, Paris, Musee d'Orsay). The main artistic influences observed in Bazille's works came from Courbet and Manet. In 1864 Bazille and Monet met the marine landscape painters Boudin and Jongkind both considered as protoimpressionist artists. In the following year Bazille made 2 canvases which he submitted to the Salon in Paris but only the one with a still-life was accepted.