drapeau français english flag
logo catalogue Bazille
Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble

Vase of Flowers on a Console

Huile sur toile
130 x 97 cm - 51 1/8 x 38 1/8 in.
Signé en bas à droite : Bazille
Grenoble, Musée de Grenoble, France - Inv. MG 2911
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-03-29 07:01:01
Référence : MSb-44


Famille de l'artiste, Montpellier - M. et Mme Teulon (née Pauline des Hours, cousine de l'artiste) - François Teulon-Valio - Musée de Grenoble, 1940 (Don de la famille Teulon).


Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d'automne, 1910, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 11 - Montpellier, Exposition internationale, 1927, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 14 - Paris, Association des étudiants protestants, 1935, n° 16 - Grenoble, Zurich, 1946, n° 61 - Paris, galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 37 - Montpellier, musée Fabre, 1959, Rétrospective Bazille, n° 24 - Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 33, repr. p. 79 - Paris, Petit Palais, 1979, n° 58 - Saint-Tropez, musée de l'Annonciade, 1982, n° 4 (repr.) - Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 22, repr. p. 114 - Paris, musée Marmottan Monet, 2003-2004, cat. 16, repr. p. 56 - Madrid, musée Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2010-2011, cat. 2, repr. p. 59 - Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 44, repr. p. 241 et p. 84 [Les références sont du catalogue en français].


Poulain, Bazille et ses amis, 1932, n° 25, p. 102, 111 [Sous le titre : Fleurs] - Sarraute, Catalogue de l'œuvre de Frédéric Bazille, 1948, n° 26, pp. 61-62 - Laprade, Beaux-Arts, 29 mars 1935 - Schmidt, Le Semeur, juin 1935 - Sarraute, Cat. exp. galerie Wildenstein, 1950, n° 37 [n.p.] - Claparède, Cat. exp. galerie Wildenstein, 1950 [n.p.] - Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 33, repr. p. 79 - Schulze, Art in America, 1978, n° 5 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 30, p. 167 - Jourdan, Cat. exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, n° 22, p. 114 - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 135 - Bonafoux, Bazille, les plaisirs et les jours, 1994, p. 26 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 44, repr. p. 178 - Pitman, 1998, p. 87 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp. Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, cat. 44, repr. p. 241 et p. 84 [Les références sont du catalogue en français] - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 44.

First, a historical note seems necessary: contrary to what has often been believed, this Vase of Flowers on a Console that Bazille intended for the Teulons, should not be confused with the Potted Flowers that was exhibited at the 1868 Salon.

In contrast to his Potted Flowers, Bazille chooses here a composition in which the flowers are only one element of a larger subject. This still life is ambitious in size and theme. On the marble of a Louis XV console with curved legs, a voluminous ceramic vase is placed. Sarraute, who was concerned about its origin, tells us that, according to a specialist, it is not - as was thought - a Delft vase but rather a Montpellier ceramic with "in the lower part of the body, a series of heart-shaped foliage that can be seen in Montpellier productions" [Sarraute, 1948, n° 26, p. 61]. In this massive vase, adorned with dark blue decorations, a large bouquet of flowers is arranged in an apparently disorderly fashion. Dahlias, heliotropes and amaranths are intermingled there "in an apparent disorder". On the wall, bignones that certainly come from the Méric vineyard. Still on the marble, next to the ceramic vase, another bouquet of dahlias, some of which are falling down, crossing the edge of the table. On the left, another vase of flowers, of which only a small part can be seen. In front, in the foreground, a stool on which some flowers have fallen.

"Bazille will never try to evoke the substance of a few cleverly arranged objects", writes Wildenstein. His flowers are arranged in the devil's own way, as in this large painting in the Grenoble Museum where a garland capriciously escapes from an enormous vase" [Wildenstein, Arts, June 9, 1950, p. 8]. There is indeed in this painting an organized disorder that was to push Poulain to compare it to a "very happy tapestry carton" [Poulain, 1932, p. 102]. This is an interesting remark, especially if one compares this work to the painter's other floral compositions, where the flowers appear more alive than still. And never has Bazille sought more - as here - an arrangement reminiscent of the 18th-century masters.

This disorder to which we have alluded is therefore in fact intended. It is probably the quantity of flowers that causes a kind of saturation effect and gives this impression of floral excess. One might think that Bazille wanted to satisfy other tastes than his own, those of Pauline and Emile Teulon, for whom this painting was intended. This is why the composition is classical and decorative. The wisdom of the style, the reminders of colors - between the bouquet and the tapestry of the seat, for example - and the graphic balance, give the painting a majestic aspect that is not usual in Bazille.

The yellow, red, ochre, and green colors, while harmonious, lack the elegance of the other bouquets where Manet's influence can be seen. Here, the flowers disappear in a somewhat monotonous whole and it therefore does not seem fair to us to say that Bazille achieved here "a tour de force" [Franz Schulze] nor that he gave the best of himself [Patrice Marandel].

Fleurs dans un vase bleu, 1848-1850, Eugène Delacroix, musée du Louvre, Paris
Fleurs dans un vase bleu, 1848-1850, Eugène Delacroix, musée du Louvre, Paris
Far from the influences of Monet and Manet, this painting seems to be close to Delacroix's Fleurs dans un vase bleu [Montauban Museum] about which the latter said to Constant Dutilleux on February 6, 1849: "I tried to make pieces of nature". Indeed, the comparison is possible both in terms of the size of the two paintings (135 x 100 cm) and their composition. We see in Delacroix a vase placed on a table; in this vase a large bouquet of flowers is arranged, better than in Bazille.

Dated 1868, this Vase of Flowers on a Console was begun in late 1867. Bazille, in a letter in December of that year, wrote to his mother that he was "working on the painting for the Teulons, the Flowers; for it to be completely dry and good to be sent, it will be necessary to wait until about January 20". Indeed, on January 20, 1868, the Flowers for the Teulons were almost finished, but Bazille was not very sure of himself: "I have done two large still lives for two days. I am not too happy with them; however, there is one with a great gray heron and jays, which is not bad, and which I will send to the Teulons, if the one I am finishing right now is not better".

Here, everything is finally reminiscent of a classical composition, of which this Louis XV console is a part, which corresponds to the "bourgeois taste" of the time inspired by certain Dutch masters without forgetting, let us remember, Delacroix to whom Bazille dedicated an unbounded admiration.

This Vase of Flowers on a Console were eventually given to the Teulons, whose family donated it to the Grenoble Museum in 1940.