Overview

In 1862, Bazille arrived in Paris to study both medicine, at his parents' insistence, and art, his preference. He joined the academic teaching studio run by Charles Gleyre, where he met Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. Attracted by the modernist tendencies of avant–garde art, the four abandoned the studio in favor of direct observation of nature. Working in close harmony, they gradually invented impressionism. Bazille's output was cut short when he was killed in 1870 during the Franco–Prussian War.

Early in the summer of 1870, before the outbreak of war, Bazille painted two similar works depicting a black woman with a lush array of flowers. Avoiding anecdotal specificity, the woman in the National Gallery painting is posed as a vendor extending a clutch of peonies chosen from her basket laden with seasonal blooms. The proffered peonies, flowers cultivated by Manet and the subject of a series of still lifes he painted in 1864–1865, are firmly portrayed in a manner reminiscent of Manet. Extending his modest tribute to the debonair leader of the avant–garde, Bazille's composition also alludes to one of Manet's most celebrated and notorious works, Olympia (Musée d'Orsay, Paris), in which a black servant offers a floral tribute to a naked prostitute.

Inscription

upper right: F. Bazille. / 1870

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Given by the artist to Edmond Maître [d. 1898]; Gaston Maître; given 1913 to the artist's brother, Marc Bazille;[1] the artist's nephew, Frédéric Bazille, Montpellier, France, by 1935 until at least 1959.[2] (Wildenstein, London, New York, and Paris); sold October 1963 to Paul Mellon, Upperville, VA;[3] gift 1983 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1935
Frederic Bazille, Association des Etudiants Protestants de Paris, Paris, 1935, no. 12, repro.
1941
Centenaire de Frédéric Bazille, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 1941, no. 33
1950
Bazille, Wildenstein, Paris, 1950, no. 55
1955
Mostra di Capolavori Della Pittura Francese Dell'Ottocento, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 1955, no. 2, repro.
1959
Frédéric Bazille, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 1959, no. 37
1966
French Paintings from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1966, no. 113, repro., as Negro Girl with Peonies.
1986
Gifts to the Nation: Selected Acquisitions from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1986, unnumbered checklist
1986
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1986, no. 1, repro.
1999
Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from American Collections", The Baltimore Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999-2000, no. 2, repro.
2011
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 2, repro.

Bibliography

1985
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 38, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 280, color repro.
1992
Daulte, François. Frédéric Bazille et les débuts de l'impressionisme. Paris, 1992:no. 60, repro.
1992
_National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 188, repro.
1993
Bajou, Valérie. Frédéric Bazille 1841-1870. Aix-en-Provence, 1993:175,177-178, repro. 167
1995
Schulman, Michel. Frédéric Bazille 1841-1870: Catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1995:no. 61, repro.
1998
Pitman, Dianne W. Bazille: Purity, Pose, and Painting in the 1860s. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998: 179-193, repro. no. 118.

Technical Summary

null

Related Content

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum