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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

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

Soup Cover Bowls

Huile sur toile
27 x 35 cm - 10 5/8 x 13 3/4 in.
Daté en bas à gauche : Juin 64
Montpellier, Musée Fabre, France - Inv. 2009.3.1
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-04-13 19:23:04
Référence : MSb-8


Peint en juin 1864 à Honfleur - Jean Thuile - Vente Clermont-Ferrand, 31 janvier 2009, n° 229 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 2009.


Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 11 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 5 - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 5, repr. p. 82 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 8, repr. p. 221 et p. 83 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 6, p. 10 [Thèse de l'Ecole du Louvre non publiée] - Wildenstein, Arts, 9 juin 1950, n° 266, p. 8 - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 7, pp. 42, 169 [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 7, pp. 30, 155-156  (repr.) [Réédition de la thèse de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 7, p. 82 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 8, repr. p. 133 - Schulman, Catalogue raisonné - Supplément 1, 2006, p. 6, repr. p. 7 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 8, repr. p. 221 et p. 83 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 8.

This painting is in the same vein as the Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon. It was, however, executed during Bazille's trip to Honfleur in 1864 and should be counted among the studies he made there. Together with the Two Herrings and a pastel depicting the cliffs of Normandy [Location unknown], it is the only surviving record of this trip. As the 2016-2017 exhibition catalogue explains, "it may represent the crockery of the Saint-Siméon farmhouse where they [Monet and Bazille] were staying". [Exhibition catalogue Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, p. 221]. One will emphasize, as the article does, "Bazille's qualities as a colorist".

On a gray background, Bazille arranged two porcelain covers. The one on the left, upright and chipped, is decorated with green and red flowers; the one on the right, laid flat, bears dark blue decorations. There is in the Soup Cover Bowls, as Wildenstein says, "an indulgent realism that has the understated charm of everyday objects" [Wildenstein, Arts, June 9, 1950, n° 266, p. 8]. But to our knowledge, this is the only time Bazille tried this type of subject. He will never again give himself over to objects in this way. When they do have a place in his paintings, it will only be as an adjunct or complement.

One wonders if Bazille  chose this subject under the influence of Renoir, who, as we know, decorated vases for a living at that time. In any case, this painting, of modest size, has the merit of proving that Bazille was broadening the range of his research and pictorial interests. We have here a study done indoors, whereas, according to his own words, Bazille was rather attracted by the magnificent landscapes of the Normandy coast, which will make Sarraute say that "the paucity of the subject" is proof that Bazille's painting was not "turning out". One must however recognize the quality of this unpretentious but interesting study. In any case, neither the technique nor the harmony of colors give us the feeling of a beginner's work.