Bazille’s Impressionism honoured at Orsay

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Musée d’Orsay in Paris presents The Youth of Impressionism, an exhibition dedicated to the lesser-known Impressionist painter Frédéric Bazille.  The exhibition runs until 5 March 2017.

Curated both thematically and chronologically,  Bazille’s works dialogue with those of other artists of his time including Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Fantin-Latour, Guigou, Scholderer and Cézanne. This exhibition is the result of a successful collaboration between the world’s three largest collections of Bazille’s work: the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Modern life, nudes and still-lifes, the treatment of light, the renewal of portraiture, impressionistic techniques are at the heart of this interesting exhibition which gathers masterpieces by the biggest names in French Impressionism. The small number of paintings which form Bazille’s body of work (around sixty) demonstrates the young artist’s progression towards a personal expression of his “temperament”, in the words of the time. “I hope”, he said “that if I ever achieve anything, I will have had the merit of having copied nobody”.  Scenes captured friends and family members in the outdoors and many of his works were exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1870. Scientific imaging has also revealed a significant number of underlying compositions, making it possible to trace works which had previously been considered lost and which are the missing links in a unique body of work.

Image: Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870), by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1867).