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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© National Gallery of Art, Washington

Portrait of Edouard Blau

Huile sur toile
59,7 x 43,5 cm - 23 7/16 x 17 in.
Signé et daté en haut à gauche : F. Bazille, 1869
Washington, National Gallery of Art, Etats-Unis - Inv. 1963.10.81
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-03-13 15:22:30
Référence : MSb-57


Edouard Blau - Chester Dale, New York, 20 avril 1920 - Don à la National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C. en 1962.


Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 55, repr. p. 250 et p. 68  [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, cité p. 69 - Walker, French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection, Washington, 1953, p. 32 (repr.) - Cooper, Burlington Magazine, sept.-oct. 1959, p. 325 - Daulte, L'œil, déc. 1970, p. 90, repr. p. 91 - Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975, n° 1745 (repr.) - Daulte, Connaissance des Arts, avril 1978, n° 273, p. 40 (repr.) - Daulte, Fredéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, pp. 161-162, n° 21, repr. coul. p. 36 [Réédition de 1952 avec photos en couleur]  - Daulte, Catalogue exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, fig. 29, repr. p. 64 - Bajou, Frédéric bBazille, 1993, p. 120 (repr.) - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 57, repr. p. 204 - Pitman, Bazille : Purity, Pose and Painting in the 1860s, pp. 77, 88 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Catalogue exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 55, repr. p. 250 et p. 68  [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 57.

It was at the Hotel du Berri that Bazille and Blau met. We find Edouard Blau in Bazille's correspondence in the Spring of 1869, at the time when they participated together in the staging of Victor Hugo's Ruy Blas, which was to be performed at the Lejosne home on March 8, 1869.

Edouard Blau (1836-1906)
Edouard Blau (1836-1906)
It seems that the project of painting his friend's portrait had already come in Bazille's mind at this time, as evidenced by this letter from Blau of February 13, 1869: "I have failed to keep my word to you, and I have come to apologize to you for it... I will therefore be ready the day you propose to me and this time, I think that no obstacle will come either from you or from me ". But it is only towards the end of December that Bazille finally puts his project into effect and announces it to his parents. Poulain makes a mistake in dating the Portrait of Blau to the end of 1865 [Poulain, 1932, p. 69], which is all the more astonishing since the painting is dated by Bazille to 1866.

The Portrait of Blau is unquestionably in the same vein as The Fortune Teller and the Young Woman with Lowered Eyes. It is part of this series of portraits where the characters are represented in bust, from the front. We can see the same applied graphics and precise contours. But it is in the lighting and palette that the similarities are most striking. Blau's face absorbs the light just like that of the Young Woman with Lowered Eyes, making it particularly present. Noticeable in all three works is the use of pale pink on the cheeks of the figures. In each case, the palette is restrained, with Bazille using dark or subdued colors as a backdrop.

Note that the green armchair in which Blau is seated is the same as the one featured in the center of The Studio on the rue La Condamine.