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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© Musée Fabre, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole / photographie Frédéric Jaulmes

The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes from South

Huile sur toile [Rentoilé en 1944]
46 x 75,5 cm - 18 x 29 3/4 in.
Signé, dédicacé en bas à droite : à M. Fioupou, son ami, F. Bazille
Montpellier, Musée Fabre, France - Inv. 56.13.1
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-03-29 11:30:49
Référence : MSb-34


Joseph Fioupiou, Paris-Toulon - Léon Deshons, Montpellier - Achat du musée Fabre, 1956.


Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 33 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, n° 22 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1970-1971, Hommage à Frédéric Bazille [n.n.] - Bordeaux, musée et galerie des Beaux-Arts, 1974, n° 84 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1977, Eugène Castelnau, [Bazille est cité par Xavier Dejean dans son introduction au catalogue] - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 22, repr. p. 63 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1985, Courbet à Montpellier, n° 37 - Edimbourg, National Gallery of Scotland, 1986, n° 74 - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 16, repr. p. 100 - Paris, Grand Palais, 1994, Impressionnisme. Les Origines 1859-1874, n° 5, p. 331, repr. pl. 110, p. 84 - New York, Metropolitan Museum, 1994-1995 [La même exposition - Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Hilaire, Cat. exp. Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1996, n° 7, pp. 114-115 - Pitman, 1998, p. 130 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 2001 [n.n.] - Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, 2003-2004, French Painting from the musée Fabre, n° 80 - Madrid, Bilbao, 2005, n° 48 - Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, 2006, n° 174, p. 189 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, n° 38, repr. p. 239 et p. 120 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, cité pp. 87, 221 - Poulain, Arts de France, 1947, pp. 122-123 - Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 23 , p. 51 [Thèse à l'Ecole du Louvre non publiée] - Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952 , n° 25, pp. 112, 176 (repr.)  [Thèse sous la direction de Gaston Poulain] - Laclotte, Vergnet-Ruiz, 1962, Petits et grands musées de France, p. 179, cité p. 226 - Champa, Studies in Early Impressionism, 1973, fig. 122, pp. 86-87 - Daulte, avril 1978, n° 9, repr. p. 42 - Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 22, repr. p.  62 - Bazin, L'Univers impressionniste, 1982, repr. en couleur p. 20 - Dezeuze, Ecrit le dimanche, 1986, pp. 104-105 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint,  1992, n° 28, pp. 107, 110, 165 [Réédition de 1952 avec photos en couleur] - Michel, Bazille, 1992, p. 145 - Jourdan, Cat. exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 16, repr. p. 100 - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 127 (repr.) - Tinterow, Cat. exp. Paris, New York, 1994-1995, n° 5, pp. 331-332 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 34, repr. p. 156 - Zutter, Cat. exp. Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, 2003-2004, n° 80 - Hilaire, Cat. exp. Madrid, Bilbao, 2005, n° 48, pp. 148, 209 - Hilaire, Cat. exp. Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, 2006, n° 174, p. 189 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 38, repr. p. 239 et p. 120 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 34.

The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes from South, long considered lost, was rediscovered in 1944 and purchased by the Fabre Museum, Montpellier in 1956. Poulain then said of this painting, one of Bazille's major works, that it was "the most complete" of the three landscapes done at Aigues-Mortes. In our opinion, it is all the more interesting because it is dedicated to his friend Fioupou, a collector of drawings, deputy head of the Ministry of Finance and later a friend of Edmond Maître.

Like The Western Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes, The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes from South is a panoramic view where swamps have replaced the greenish water of The Western  Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes. Here, the ramparts, of which only a portion can be distinguished, diminish in favor of the natural landscape, particularly the marshes in the foreground. Bazille wanted to study perspective with successive planes rendered in tones that are themselves varied, dark greens, pale earths, and bluish whites for the water surface. The uniformly colored ramparts are only one of the elements of the painting. On the left, the small group of houses is seen from much the same angle as in The Western Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes. They are reminiscent of the houses on the farm of Saint-Sauveur. In the distance, poplars seem to bend slightly in the wind. The only living element: seagulls circling over the lagoon. No characters, no anecdotal signs other than these wild birds. Bazille wanted to make a pure landscape, to render an impression of the setting sun, a sun that pinkens the clouds against a background of bluish sky.

The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes from South are, in fact, the antithesis of the other landscapes of Aigues-Mortes. They are opposed to the other two by the uniform shadows, the "reddish grass, yellowed by sea salt". One would find the technique and tones of the Landscape at Chailly painted two years earlier this same virtuosity in the grasses, these same touches, these browns and ochres that absorb the sun's rays. It is the unity of the tones that makes this painting interesting, a unity that is barely disturbed by the blues of the half-dried lagoon.

The foreground is the theme of the painting, which leads us to believe that Bazille established from one to the other of these three landscapes of Aigues-Mortes, a gradation in subjects and color. It seems that, starting from the Porte de la Reine at Aigues-Mortes, the progression was made naturally, giving the ramparts less and less room to progressively increase that of the landscape. There is nothing, however, to suggest that these three works were painted in the order in which we present them here.

This painting can be related to the drawing - preparatory? - Study for The Ramparts at Aigues-Mortes.

Was the ramparts ultimately just a pretext? One might assume so, but it cannot be denied that Bazille made here a trilogy that occupies an important place in the whole of his work.

Related Works

Oeuvre en rapport
Etude pour les Remparts d'Aigues-Mortes - Dessin au crayon - Musée d'Orsay (MSb-230)
Oeuvre en rapport
Etude pour les Remparts d'Aigues-Mortes - Fusain - Musée d'Orsay (MSb-234)
Oeuvre en rapport
Etude pour Aigues-Mortes - Dessin au crayon - Musée d'Orsay (MSb-238)