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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© Musée Fabre, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole / photographie Frédéric Jaulmes

The Artist's Studio on the rue de Furstenberg

Huile sur toile
81,2 x 65 cm - 31 15/16 x 25 1/2 in.
Montpellier, Musée Fabre, France - Inv. 85.5.3
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-04-26 20:45:09
Référence : MSb-21


Eugène Leenhardt - Mme Georges Marchand, née Leenhardt (Par descendance) - Vendue par les héritiers au musée Fabre en 1985.


Montpellier, Exposition internationale, 1927, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 3 - Paris, Association des étudiants protestants, 1935, n° 15 (repr.) - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1941, n° 13 - Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 14 (repr.) - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 8 - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 18, repr. p. 56 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1984, [n.n.], repr. p. 1 - Paris, Grand-Palais, 1985-1986, Anciens et Nouveaux. Choix d'œuvres acquises par l'Etat ou avec sa participation de 1981 à 1985, n° 135, repr. p. 211 - Paris, musée d'Orsay, 1986, La vie de Bohème, n° 80 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1991-1992, Frédéric Bazille, 150e anniversaire, fig. 23, p. 21 - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, Frédéric Bazille, n° 8, repr. p. 86 - Atlanta, High Museum of Art, 1999, n° 7, repr. p. 30 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 2001 [n.n.] - Paris, musée Marmottan Monet, 2003-2004, n° 5, repr. p. 36 - Madrid, Bilbao, 2005, De Rafael a Degas, n° 47 - Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, 2006, Chefs-d'œuvre du musée Fabre, n° 87 - Montpellier, Grenoble, 2007-2008, L' impressionnisme de France et d'Amérique [n.n.], repr. p. 43 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 16, repr. p. 226 et p. 171 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, n° 7, pp. 53, 212 - Sarraute, Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Bazille, 1948, n° 15, p. 31 [Thèse de l'Ecole du Louvre non publiée] -Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, pp. 90, 172-173 (repr.) [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Wildenstein, Cat. raisonné Claude Monet, t. 1, 1974, p. 28 - Daulte, L'Oeil, avril 1978, repr. p. 36 - Bérhaut, Cat. raisonné Caillebotte, 1978, p. 8 - Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 18,  repr. p. 56 - Apollo, décembre 1985, n°1 (repr.) - Georgel, La peinture dans la peinture, 1982-1983, p. 150, repr. fig. 270 - Anon., 1985, n° 1, p. 63, fig. 16 - Bajou, 1988, Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture : Jean Cousin à Degas, p. 180 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, repr. coul. p. 32, pp. 91-92 et p. 160, n° 18 (repr.) [Réédition de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Michel, Bazille, 1992, pp. 104-105 - Vuatone, Cat. exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 8, repr. p. 86 - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 124 (repr.) - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 21, repr. p. 135 - Pitman, 1998, Bazille : Purity, Pose and Painting in the 1860s, pp. 52-53, 55, 80, 82, 184, 187, 203 - Champa, Cat. exp. Atlanta, High Museum, 1999, n° 7, repr. p. 31, pp. 65-95 - Pitman, Cat. exp. Atlanta, High Museum, 1999, n° 7, repr. p. 30, pp. 31-32 - Hilaire, Cat. exp. Madrid, Bilbao, 2005, n° 47, pp. 146, 208 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 16, repr. p. 226 et p. 171 [Les références sont du catalogue en français]- Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 21.

Bazille signed the lease for the studio on the rue de Furstenberg on December 20, 1865, and moved in with Monet in early January 1866. During his career, he painted three successive studios. This is the first of them.

In fact, Bazille shows here a corner of his new home. On the left, in a sort of recess, a cast iron stove, reddened by the fire. On the right, two armchairs: the one on the left - a Voltaire armchair - is upholstered in green velvet, the one on the right, leaning against the far wall, is red. A table, also covered with a dark green fabric, is placed against the left wall. Writer's utensils are scattered there: pens, candlestick, inkwell, paper... To the right of the table, which serves as a desk, a door hidden by a half-open curtain opens onto another room. In the center of the table, an open paint box, a palette and brushes litter the floor, instruments ready to be used. On the walls, finally, eleven paintings, some by Monet, others unidentifiable, others probably by Bazille himself.

Looking through the representations he left of his studios, Daulte says, "one browses through a bit of the artist's autobiography, imagines his way of life. It is always the same simplicity, the same austerity. One feels that these various studios could not be inhabited by a frivolous and capricious spirit" [Daulte, 1992, p. 91].

Of course, the studio on the rue de Furstenberg - of which, by the way, we only see a part - is a bit sad and austere. One can distinguish there that a "cube of interlocking spaces" [Expression used by Xavier Dejean, former curator of the Fabre Museum. Cf. Exhibition catalogue Montpellier, 1984]. And, certainly, there is a kind of bias to eliminate the luminous spaces to mark the austerity of the place as well as of the one who lives there. Intimate mirror, modest residence and castle of creation at the same time, the studio dives us into the consciousness and the universe of the artist. For the first time, we enter his home. Everything is fixed in this closed space and, to reinforce this impression of immobility, Bazille has refused the anecdote that could have aroused the presence of people. Neither he nor anyone else! In this way, he distances himself from the "maître Courbet" whose L'Atelier is "a social epic gathered around the painter with brush in hand". In The Artist's Studio on the rue de Furstenberg, "the painter stands back and questions this immobile memory that reflects back to him his image, not immediate but as if spread out over time" [Georgel, Cat. exp. Dijon, 1982-1983, p. 185]. Finally the studio, for a painter, is the consecration: this painting therefore has a value of symbol.

Portrait de Monet, Gilbert de Severac, 1865, musée Marmottan Monet, Paris
Portrait de Monet, Gilbert de Severac, 1865, musée Marmottan Monet, Paris
Un coin d'atelier ou Le poële, Eugène Delacroix
Un coin d'atelier ou Le poële, Eugène Delacroix
Its simplicity allows each element to find its place. The stove is heated to red: it is winter, the painter's enemy, which makes the fingers go numb and stiffens the muscles. The uniformity or rather the unity of the tones - the walls, and the brown ceiling, light or dark - contributes to the simplicity of the room. But these tones also allow to highlight everything that matters to the artist: some rare elements of comfort - like the armchairs - but especially the paintings hanging on the wall. Above the alcove, a marine that has been said to be the Beach at Sainte-Adresse by Bazille, an attribution that is hazardous to say the least. In order, from left to right, in the first row above the table: a Portrait de Monet by Gilbert de Severac, to his right, two unknown small-format seascapes. Above, Monet's Route devant la ferme Saint-Siméon [Wildenstein, Cat. raisonné Monet, 1974, no. 24]; to his right, the Bord de mer à Honfleur, also by Monet [Wildenstein, Cat. raisonné Monet, 1974, n° 41]; next come a bouquet of flowers and another painting by Monet, probably the Route de la ferme Saint-Siméon; finally, an undergrowth, perhaps done by Bazille at Chailly. Above, two paintings: an academy of man and a figure in folk costume.

Pictures of painters' studios are not uncommon. Among the most direct influences on Bazille are Delacroix's Coin d'atelier - the attribution of which is now in question - in which the painter intended to be even more intimate than Bazille and L'Atelier by Courbet (1854-1855). Later, when Caillebotte painted his Intérieur d'atelier au poêle (1874), he would exclude any visible presence, as Bazille does here.