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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis

Self-Portrait with a Detachable Collar

Huile sur toile [Rentoilé en 1947]
54 x 46 cm - 21 1/4 x 18 1/8 in.
Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Etats-Unis - Inv. 62.39
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-03-29 07:01:20
Référence : MSb-39


Famille de l’artiste - Marc Bazille, neveu de l’artiste - Son fils, Frédéric Bazille - Sa fille, Mme William Hérisson, née Catherine Bazille - Knoedler & Co., New York - The Minneapolis Institute of Art (The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 1962).


Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 25 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 14 - New York, Finch College Museum of Art, 1962, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century French Masters, n° 2 (repr.) - New York, Wildenstein Gallery, 1972, Faces from the World of Impressionism,  n° 1 - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 29, repr. p. 73 - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 46 - Atlanta, High Museum, 1999, n° 18, repr. p. 84 - Paris, musée Marmottan Monet, 2003-2004, cat. 15, repr. p. 65 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 18,  repr. p. 227 et p. 50 [Les références sont du catalogue en français]. 


Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 50, p. 112 - Daulte, Arts, 9 juin 1950 - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 34 (repr.), pp. 145-146, 180 [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Bazin, Chronique des Arts, février 1963, n° 156 (repr.) - Weinhardt, Minneapolis Institute of Art Bulletin, 1962-1963,  Report, t. 52, p. 5 (repr.) - Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly, 1963, vol. 57, n° 2, p. 24 (repr.) - Art Quarterly, printemps 1963, p. 94 (repr.) - Gazette des Beaux-Arts, fév. 1963, n° 156, p. 40 - The Connoisseur Year Book, Londres, 1964, p. 102 - Guide of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1970, n° 9 - European Paintings from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1971, p. 194 - « Chronique des Arts », Gazette des Beaux Art, février 1983 (?), n° 156, repr. p. 40 - Marandel, Catalogue exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 29, repr. p. 72 - Gerstein, Impressionism. Selections from American Museums, 1989, p. 24 (repr.) - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné des peintures, 1992, n° 37, pp. 138, 141, 169 - Pitman, Catalogue exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 46, p. 141 - Bajou,  Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 73 (repr.) - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 39, repr. p. 169 - Champa, Pitman, Catalogue exp. Atlanta, High Museum, 1999, n° 18, repr. p. 84 -Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 18, repr. p. 227 et p. 50 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 39.

Stunning portrait is this Self-Portrait with a Detachable Collar where he depicted himself in bust form, face turned three-quarters, eyes cornered and beard flourishing.

It was probably during the Winter of 1867-1868 that Bazille executed this self-portrait, no doubt for lack of a model he could not afford. "Don't condemn me to perpetual still life", he told his parents when he asked them for money again.

The Self-Portrait with a Detachable Collar is in the same vein as the Portrait of Sisley. This painting is a continuation of the realism of the 1850s-1860s. The format, theme and pose are found in many portraits executed by Bonnat, Bonvin, Courbet, Fantin-Latour, Vollon and many others.

Bazille first works on the relationship of light and shadows. The light tones focus on the ear and the shirt collar in thick, jerky strokes. The shadows are thinner, like on the jacket, and even transparent, like those of the background. There is no gradation or transition between the two, making the technique more vigorous and reinforcing the sometimes angular contours. "He constructs general volumes on the basis of an extremely severe geometry", explains Poulain [Poulain, 1932, p. 90], prompting Dorival to speak of the "brittle rigor" of the style and "a taut character that announces Vallotton and certain cubists" [Dorival, La peinture française, Larousse, 1942 , p. 88]. Their "geometric lines" are already found, all things considered, in the graphics of this self-portrait, but there is a long way from there to cubism announced by Dorival. In fact, this painting concentrates both the hesitations and the certainty of the painter. The hesitations, because it remains here very classical by the chosen theme. As for the certainty, it is expressed by the idea he shares with his contemporaries that the energetic and abrupt touch is a sign of artistic sincerity.

Bazille is, moreover, subject to multiple influences here: the realist ones of Courbet, Bonnat, Bonvin, and Vollon and the new ones of Monet and Manet in search of an incipient modernism. From this self-portrait emanates an intense psychological presence, particularly through the depth of the gaze. As in Frédéric Bazille with a Palette, the painter looks sideways, an attitude that he would take up again in his portraits of Renoir, Blau and Sisley but also in the View of the Village and in Self-Portrait in Shirt Sleeves. There is no direct look at the Portrait of Sisley and at  the Portrait of Edmond Maître. But the expression is no less incisive and persuasive.

Self-Portrait with a Detachable Collar was also titled Portrait d'homme in the 1992 Montpellier exhibition catalogue. The author of the notice does not recognize Bazille's features in it. Such is not our opinion, for Bazille is far from being physically the same in all his self-portraits and, as for the jerky technique, it is found in Frédéric Bazille at Saint-Sauveur and in Self-Portrait in Shirt Sleeves.

"Bazille [...] shows a certain fascination with his own image [...] He carefully observes the marks of time on his young face", writes Perrin [P. 227]. Indeed, there is a notable difference with Frédéric Bazille with a Palette of 1865. This leads Pitman not to recognize Bazille with certainty in it [Pitman, Exhibition catalogue, Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 46, p. 141].