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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
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Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon

Huile sur toile
36 x 26 cm - 14 3/16 x 10 1/4 in.
Signé en bas à droite : F. B.
Collection particulière
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-04-03 06:26:21
Référence : MSb-7


Famille de l’artiste - Frédéric Bazille, neveu de l’artiste - Collection particulière.


Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d'automne, 1910, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 1 - Montpellier, Exposition internationale, 1927, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 34 - Paris, Association des étudiants protestants, 1935, n° 14 (repr.) - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1941, n° 11 - Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 10 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1958, n° 2 (repr.) - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 4 - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 12, repr. p. 47 - Paris, musée Marmottan Monet, 2003, n° 2 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 6, repr. p. 220 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Formes, novembre 1931, n° 19 - Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, n° 5, pp. 42, 52-53, 212 - Laprade, Beaux-Arts, mars 1935, n° 117 - Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 5, p. 8  [Thèse de l'Ecole du Louvre non publiée] - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 6, pp. 42, 110-111, 169 [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Allier, Lettres françaises, octobre 1959 - Lapeyre, Plaisir de France, janvier 1970 - Rewald, Histoire de l'impressionnisme, 1973, repr. p. 111 [Réédition de 1946] - Champa, Studies in Early Impressionism, 1973, fig. 114, p. 85 - Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Intitute of Chicago, 1978, n° 12, repr. p. 46 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 6, pp. 30, 104-105, 155 (repr.) [Réédition de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 7, repr. p. 112 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné - Supplément 1, 2006, p. 6, repr. p. 7 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 6, repr. p. 220 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 7.

This is Spring of 1864. Bazille has accepted Monet's proposal to stay in Honfleur. He fell under the spell of the landscape and worked intensely, discovering with joy the Normandy countryside, the Seine estuary and the seashores, so different from the Midi. But of the works he painted then, only the Soup Cover Bowls and the Two Herrings have so far reached us.

The Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon had first been located at Saint-Sauveur, thus at Honfleur, but Gaston Poulain just rectifies that error. He sees neither the houses of the family estate at Méric, nor their architecture, and even less the light of a southern landscape. The houses, the brick walls, the pavement, do not evoke the Languedoc. On the other hand, in this painting, "a very pale harmony, yellow and red", and an "accuracy of the very fine tones recall Corot and Boudin" [Daulte, 1992, p. 104]. It should be noted that the subject, without any real pictorial interest, acquires one through the juxtaposition of the house, the wall and the cobblestones and thus represents an unexpected architectural aspect in Bazille's work. The Saint-Siméon farmhouse has also been mislocated by some scholars. The Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon holds the same place among Bazille's works as The Scoter among his still lives: it is a painting that is straightforward in technique as well as in form. Bazille has tried a test that is ultimately more complex than it seems, and has managed to give life to a subject that was devoid of it. Indeed, no being gives lifeto this courtyard where the barrel, in unstable equilibrium, is the only testimony of a human activity. Daulte writes that the Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon is "a blurred and dull work" [Daulte, 1992, p. 104], a judgment that we find a bit harsh. In fact, it is reminiscent of a drawing in which the forms are emphasized for the sake of accuracy and truth. Thus the walls, chimneys and windows are rigorously traced, with an application that leads us to believe that it is indeed a study.

Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc today
Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc today
In reality, this is neither Normandy nor the Midi but the courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval Blanc at Chailly near Barbizon where Bazille spent some time with Monet in 1863. This information, which we publish here, has been confirmed by the current owner of the inn, a descendant of the purchasers in the mid-19th century. According to him, it was a "bourgeois" dwelling that was later transformed into an inn where Bazille and Monet were to stay.

A former and loyal customer of this Auberge du Cheval blanc, who was passionate about Bazille, is credited with the insightful connection between the painting and the courtyard of the inn, whose layout and architecture have changed little since the nineteenth century and have remained virtually unchanged.