In 1862, Bazille traveled to Paris from his native Montpellier to study medicine. Upon his arrival, he also enrolled in the studio of painter Charles Gleyre where he made the acquaintance of his fellow students Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, with whom he developed close friendships. Bazille soon abandoned his medical studies in order to focus exclusively to his true vocation as an artist. He began to frequent the infamous Café Guerbois, where avant-garde artists and writers including Monet, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, and Emile Zola met regularly to discuss art other related matters.
Like all of the artists of this group (who would go on to become known as impressionists), Bazille was devoted to the depiction of modern life and observed reality. In Young Woman with Peonies he portrayed an African woman selling flowers. While likely inspired by Manet’s notorious Olympia (Paris, Musée d’Orsay), in which a black servant offers flowers to a naked courtesan, in Bazille’s painting the African woman takes center stage, gazing directly at the viewer, her demeanor forthright and assured. Six months after this painting was completed, Bazille was dead, killed in battle during the Franco-Prussian War.
lower left: E. Boudin / Le Havre 83
Duneau, Paris; sold 1902 to (Durand-Ruel, New York and Paris), until at least 1940; Stanley N. Barbee, New York; (Barbee sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 20 April 1944, no. 30); purchased by Coblentz, USA. (Wildenstein, London, New York and Paris); sold 1962 to Mr. Paul Mellon, Upperville; gift 1983 to NGA.
- Possibly Salon of 1883, Paris, no. 321, as La Sortie
- Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Grafton Galleries, London, 1905, probably no. 3, as Leaving Port - Havre
- Exposition de Tableaux par Boudin, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1926-1927, no. 9, as Sortie du port du Havre.
- Possibly Nineteenth Century French Art, Albright Art Gallery, 1932, no. 1.
- Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Eugene Boudin, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1935-1936, no. 12, as Havre Harbor; Outward Bound.
- Eugene Boudin, Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, 1936, no. 9, as Sortie du port du Havre.
- Golden Gate International Exhibition, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1940, no. 232, as Port of Havre.
- Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, Naples; Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, 1986-1987, no. 1, repro.
- Paintings by Eugène Boudin from the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1989, no cat.
- Eugène Boudin at the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2007, no cat.
- Eugene Boudin, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 2007-2008, no cat.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 65, repro.