Frédéric Bazille

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portray of Fréderic Bazille, painted by Renoir, 1867, oil on canvas
Frédéric Bazille, 'La Robe Rose / The Pink Dress', painting in oil on canvas, 1864
Frédéric Bazille, 1866/67: 'The Little Gardener', location: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, U.S.
Bazille, his painting 'Summer Scene / The Bathers', 1869, oil-painting on canvas
An impression of some paintings in the oil-painting 'Bazille's Studio', painted by Renoir in 1870
Renoir's painting of 'Bazille's Studio', 1870, oil on canvas

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. Close friends were 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 painting materials to use. He died young as French soldier in the w:Franco-Prussian War.

Quotes of Frédéric Bazille[edit]

1860 - 1865[edit]

  • The big classical compositions are finished; an ordinary view of daily life would be much more interesting.
    • In: Renoir my father by Jean Renoir [his son], p. 96; as quoted in The private lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 24
    • a remark during a walk, to the painter Renoir, in the winter of 1862 – 63, as they passed a crying baby while its nurse was flirting with a soldier
  • Certain parts of the forest [the forest Bas Bréau, near Barbizon] are truly wonderful. We can't even imagine such oak trees in Montpellier.
    • In: Frédéric Bazille and early Impressionism, Marandel, Daulte et al. p. 155
    • Bazille's quote refers to travelling and painting together landscape in-open-air with Monet, Pisarro and Renoir, all students of the Paris art-teacher w:Charles Gleyre.
  • This country [landscape around w:Honfleur, where Bazille was painting with Monet, circa 1864] is paradise. Nowhere could you find more lush fields with more beautiful trees. Cows and horses roam freely everywhere.
    • In a letter to his mother, as quoted in Frédéric Bazille and early Impressionism, Marandel, Daulte et al. p. 166
  • [about his friend Monet, in 1865:] ..hard at work for some time now. His paintings has 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.
    • Quote of Bazille in a letter to his brother, December 1865; as quoted in The private lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 43

1866 - 1870[edit]

  • [telling about 'backstage-scene' of the Paris Opera, c. 1866]:) ..Don't worry! I bring to it all the necessary objectivity, don't be alarmed.. ..dirty machinists, very dumb musicians, a very old [choreographer] Monsieur Auber, and everyone only thinks about getting her job done as quickly as possible to earn a living.
    • In a letter to Bazille's mother c. 1866; as quoted in The private lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 49
  • If I did not know how unhappy you [ Monet, his friend] are, I certainly would not take the trouble to respond to the letter that reached me this morning. You try to demonstrate to me that I don't keep my promises, but you have only succeeded in proving to me your ingratitude. As far as I know I had never had the air to give you charity. I know to the contrary, better than everyone, the value of the painting that I have purchased [ Monet's painting 'Woman in the garden' purchased by Bazille ] and I very much regret not being wealthy enough to offer you better conditions (WPJ 15)
    • In: a letter of 2 Jan. 1867 to Monet, who accused Bazille of cheating with the price of the painting; as quoted in Monet and His Muse: Camille Monet in the Artist's Life, Mary Mathews Gedo; University of Chicago Press, 2010, p 72
  • It is really too ridiculous for a reasonably intelligent person to expose himself to this kind of administrative caprice. [Bazille meant the official yearly w:Paris Salon which excluded and refused many artists of the circle of the Impressionists; in 1869 an attempt to reinstate the w:Salon des Refusés was in progress; and even the older painters like Daubigny, Corot, Courbet, Diaz promised their support and to contribute their art in the alternative Salon]
    • In: Frédéric Bazille and early Impressionism, Marandel, Daulte et al. p. 179-180
  • I have no intention of being killed, there's too much I still want to do with my life.
    • In: Les Impressionists autour de Paris: tableau de banlieu avec peintres, ed. Jean-Michel Puydebat – SEM Chateau d’Auvers, 1993, p. 16
    • [Bazille's quote is written in 1870 shortly before he died in thew:Franco-Prussian War, when Bazille joined General de Barrail's staff]

Quotes about Frédéric Bazille[edit]

  • My dear Bazille, I ask myself what you can be doing in Paris during fine weather, for I suppose that it must also be very fine there. Here [in w:Honfleur, Brittany] my dear fellow, it is charming, and I discover every day always beautiful things. It is enough to become mad [fou], so much do I have the desire to do it all, my head is cracking. Damn it, here it is the sixteenth, put aside your cliques and your claques, and come spend a couple of weeks here, it would be the best thing that you could do, because in Paris it cannot be very easy to work.. ..Are you making any progress? Yes, I am sure of it, but what I am sure of is that you do not work enough and not in the right way. It is not with carefree guys like your Villa and others that you will be able to work. It would be better all alone, and yet, all alone there are plenty of things that one cannot make out.
    • Claude Monet, in a letter to Frédéric Bazille from w:Honfleur, July 15, 1864; as quoted in Mary M. Gedo (2013) Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art. p. 114-15
  • 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, as quoted in The history of Impressionism by w:John Rewald, (Fourth edition), Museum of Modern Art, 1974, New York p. 643
    • a remark to her sister Edma Morisot, after Berthe's visit to the Salon of Paris in 1869
  • [Bazille had not died] romantically, galloping over a Delacroix' battlefield.. ..but stupidly, during the retreat, on a muddy road.
    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in Renoir, my Father, Jean Renoir; p. 124; as quoted in The private lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 83
  • ..that pure-hearted gentle knight [after Bazille's death]
    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in Renoir, my Father, Jean Renoir; p. 125; as quoted in The private lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 94

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