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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
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Naked Woman from Behind

Huile sur toile
63 x 48 cm - 24 3/4 x 18 7/8 in.
Collection particulière
Dernière mise à jour : 2023-12-22 19:06:00
Référence : MSb-5


Famille de l’artiste - André Bazille - Vente Paris-Drouot, 22 juin 1988, n° 53 - Galerie Schmit, Paris - Collection particulière.


Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d'automne, 1910, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 17 [Sous le titre Etude de femme nue] - Montpellier, Exposition internationale, 1927, Retrospective Bazille, n° 26 [Sous le titre Etude de nue] - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1941, n° 8 - Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 7 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 2 - Paris, galerie Schmit, 1989, n° 1 (repr.) - Paris, galerie Schmit, 1992, n° 2 (repr.).


Poulain, Frédéric Bazille et ses amis, 1932, n° 1, pp. 134, 211 - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 4, pp. 127, 168 (repr.) [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 4, pp. 120-121, 154 (repr.) [Réédition de la thèse de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, repr. p. 52 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 5, repr. p. 109 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 5.

The Naked Woman from Behind, probably executed in 1864, shows Bazille's abilities and eclecticism, even in his early years. We know nothing about the origin of this work.

The challenge was daring to treat such a subject in this way. Was this nude woman from behind, with her curvaceous form, a model? We know that Bazille could hardly afford one. In any case, the simplicity of the forms and graphics is hard to explain.

Bazille leaves here the conventional framework of the studio to seek out colors that he would later find in the Portrait of Renoir, in the Porte de la Reine at Aigues-Mortes and, to some extent, in his Studies for a Grape Harvest. But especially in the Naked Reclining Woman recently discovered [Schulman, Catalogue raisonné - Supplement 2, 2016, n° 1, repr. p. 4]. Greens dominate, sometimes shaded by browns that darken them. But the blues of the sky, softened by discreet pinks, make a kind of link with the color of the character's skin. The sharp whites brighten the contours of the stone on which the woman is sitting; finally, the scarf and a few red spots give the painting vigor. Bazille, starting from a banal subject, thus reveals his talent as a colorist. To all this, we must add the essential role of the material. Never, until now, has Bazille expressed himself with such impasto, with such verve, rapidly brushing the light parts, vigorously detailing the foliage of the tree with its trunk summarily but boldly thrown onto the canvas.

Let us note, however, that the material only plays its full role for the landscape in the background. "The nude remembers Courbet, but only recalls him from afar", Daulte will say [Daulte, 1992, p. 121]. The influence of the Master of Ornans, however, does not seem negligible to us. In the Naked Woman from the Behind, Bazille ultimately seeks a new path to color.

Related Works

Oeuvre en rapport
Nu allongé de dos - Huile sur toile - 41 x 55 cm - Collection particulière (MSb-80)