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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
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Farm of Saint-Sauveur

Huile sur toile
75 x 120 cm - 29 1/2 x 47 1/4 in.
Signé en bas à droite : F. Bazille 18
Collection particulière
Dernière mise à jour : 2023-12-22 19:05:58
Référence : MSb-3


Marc Bazille, frère de l’artiste - André Bazille, neveu de l’artiste - Mme Rachou-Bazille, Montpellier - Collection particulière.


Montpellier, Exposition internationale, 1927, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 20 - Paris, Association des étudiants protestants, 1935, n° 9 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1941, n° 17 - Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 5  - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 1 - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 5, repr. p. 38  - Paris, musée Marmottan Monet, 2003-2004, cat. 2, repr. p. 49 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 27, repr. p. 231 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, n° 15, pp. 61, 88, 213 - Laprade, Beaux-Arts, mars 1935, n° 117, p. 8 - Schmidt, Cat. exp. Association des étudiants protestants, juin 1935, p. 497 - Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 2, pp. 3, 100 [Thèse du musée du Louvre non publiée] - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 2, p. 167 [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 5, repr. p. 38 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 2, p. 24, (repr. coul.) et pp. 153-154 (repr.) [Réédition de la thèse de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Michel, Bazille, 1992, p. 96 - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 54 (repr.) - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 3, repr. p. 106 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 27, repr. p. 231 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 3.

We see the idea of presenting paintings at the Salon of 1866 sprouting in Bazille's mind when he announced to his mother in November 1865 that he is preparing "a very simple subject", in this case "a young girl playing the piano and a young man listening to her". This is the Young Woman Playing the Piano, which we found again under Ruth and Booz at the Fabre Museum in Montpellier thanks to X-rays, this on the occasion of the 2016-2017 exhibition. The other painting Bazille proposed to present is a painting of Saint-Sauveur that "I will do at the same time", he writes. Yet the Farm at Saint-Sauveur was already painted, since he asked his brother Marc in late December 1865 why it had not yet been sent to him. This means that he had left it in Montpellier. This hypothesis is confirmed by a letter from Mrs Gaston Bazille to her son in January 1866, in which the artist's mother is surprised that he has not yet received the study she sent him a long time ago. Bazille finally received it. Busy and pressed for time, he will not send the finished painting he intended to do to the Salon. "It is probable that I will not have time to do it, my other painting being very large", he wrote on February 19, 1866. In the end, he would send to the 1866 Salon the Young Woman Playing the Piano and the Still Life with Fish [Detroit Institute of Arts], a painting that would be the only one to be accepted by the jury.

There is the question of the date of execution of the Farm at Saint-Sauveur. Still in the same letter of December 1865, Bazille wrote again to his brother Marc about this sketched painting: "You must not delay sending it to me. I hope you will not keep it as in other years". This means that the Farm at Saint-Sauveur is very clearly prior to 1865 and the painting can be considered to date from 1863 since Bazille had never painted before. The Farm of Saint-Sauveur was therefore not ready to be exhibited. Evidently, Bazille had long been dissatisfied with it, since he had taken care not to add the date. According to Pitman, the painting would have been executed in 1865 [Pitman, 1989, p. 82], an assumption that Jones endorses in the 2016-2017 exhibition catalogue [P. 231], which finally changes the work's historical date for her to 1865.

It is the family farm located in Lattes near Montpellier that he depicts here with its buildings and some farm implements. In the middle of the meadow, a little girl is sitting; a tall, bearded figure is perhaps Bazille himself.

The general technique is consistent with the artist's own style and fits well with what the painter was doing at that time. The Courtyard of the Auberge du Cheval blanc at Chailly near Barbizon from 1864 is the painting most directly to be compared  to this one, with a still sketchy treatment.

The meadow, in the foreground, is monochromatic, the greens only highlighted by a few dark touches at the height of the little girl. Apart from the sky, whose blue is tempered by a few white clouds, the tone of the painting revolves around ochres and browns, which hardly gives the impression of a Languedoc landscape.

Poulain said that Bazille had chosen to use the blue of the sky as the basis for the painting, seeking through Saint-Sauveur "the method of the landscape in the sun" [Poulain, 1932, p. 88], which seems to us to be a somewhat ambitious statement because sunlight does not play a main role in it, which is the least we can say. On the other hand, he was right when  he states that this painting is "of an excessively honest and scrupulous technique, of an almost naïve feeling" [Poulain, 1932, p. 88].