Huile sur toile
38 x 46 cm - 14 15/16 x 18 1/8 in.
Signé, dédicacé et daté en bas à droite : à mon ami Villa, F. Bazille 1864
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-04-10 10:07:46
Référence : MSb-4
Bazille dedicated this painting to his friend Villa, with whom he shared a studio from January 1864. To our knowledge, this is the first time he tackled a garden scene with people. In this painting, Bazille was interested in the Parisian life. It is an image of this society that he presents to us.
Several women are seated on a bench on either side of an alley in the Parc Monceau in Paris. Of interest is the group on the left where the housekeeper is holding a child on her lap. The woman next to her is certainly the child's mother. On the bench on the right, it is a similar scene, but this time the little child is playing in the middle of the alley. He is the center of the subject. On the steps of the staircase, two women talk to each other, slightly bent forward; they do not lack a certain distinction.
While the layout is fairly conventional, Bazille's attempts to enliven his painting with contrasting colors must be underlined. He succeeds, not by opposing them to each other, but by choosing them complementary and harmonious. Thus, the ochres of the central aisle and the greens of the foliage are ordered, just as the colors of the dresses are finely combined. On the right bench, we notice the discreet blues of one of them, a tone that Bazille re-uses in the group on the left. The other element of color is the small red ribbon that floats on the back of the child. Finally, we note the use of black in some of the clothes, blacks that remind us of Manet. The latter took up this theme in his painting Au jardin in 1870.
In 1995, when our catalogue raisonné was published, we did not know the place represented by the painting but we thought it was certainly a Paris garden. It is indeed the Parc Monceau as illustrated here. This was published in our Supplement 1 to the Bazille catalogue raisonné in 2006, repr. p. 8.
Let us add that several paintings attributed to Bazille, such as the Rencontre au jardin,Femme dans un parc and Coin de pré à Chailly repeat identical themes. Of which we doubt the attribution.
The Online Catalogue Raisonné of the Artworks by Frédéric Bazille by Michel Schulman
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