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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
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Portrait of a Woman

Huile sur toile
41 x 33 cm - 16 1/8 x 13 in.
Signé et daté en bas à gauche : F. Bazille 1868
Collection particulière
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-04-09 21:55:44
Référence : MSb-86


Galerie Hubert Duchemin, Paris - Galerie Dickinson, Londres - Vente  Christie's, New York, 5 mai 2014, n° 437 - Collection particulière.


As far as we know, never exhibited


Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 86.

Gitane à la cigarette, Edouard Manet, 1862
Gitane à la cigarette, Edouard Manet, 1862
Gitane, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garretta, musée du Prado, Madrid
Gitane, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garretta, musée du Prado, Madrid
Signed F. Bazille and dated 1868, this Portrait of a Woman appears to have been made during a stay by Bazille at Aigues-Mortes. The woman does indeed bring to mind a young gypsy woman, the presence of gypsies in Camargue being historically attested to in the mid-nineteenth century, particularly on the occasion of the pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer that Frédéric Mistral made in 1856. The latter then describes the gypsy women who came from Montpellier and Languedoc. In his Mémoires et récits, which he published in 1906, Mistral even puts himself in the picture with "bohemians", school children his own age whose games he shares.

In his book Les Bohémiens en France au XIXe siècle, François de Vaux de Faletier [J. C. Lattès, 1981] underlines their presence, especially throughout the South of France. In 1857, in the "Bohemians on a journey" in his Fleurs du mal, Baudelaire "describes a caravan of bohemians passing by, and seems to identify with this prophetic people and on the bangs of society, just like him. This is to say that the subject was common in literature as well as in painting.

It is not surprising, then, that Bazille was attracted to this subject and drew this quick portrait. But other artists like Manet were not, as well, indifferent to this "exoticism". With his Gitane à la Cigarette, 1862, [Princeton Art Museum], he took up this theme that Degas also appreciated to the point of acquiring Manet's painting from Durand-Ruel. The Spanish painter Raimundo de Madrazo y Garretta (1841-1920) crossed the Pyrenees, exhibited at the Paris World's Fair in 1860, and became a renowned portraitist. His Gitane is now part of the collections of the Prado Museum in Madrid.

The subject was thus in the air, and Bazille's interest in it parallels that which he expresses in his paintings Young Woman with Peonies of which the one in the Fabre Museum is an example as is La Toilette.

The spontaneity of this portrait matches that of his Portrait of Renoir in the  Orsay Museum. Far from the social messages he expresses in The Family Gathering, for example, Bazille here aims to be intimate, which is what makes this painting  so original.