Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Birth of Impressionism - Part Two

A Studio at Les Batignolles, by Henri Fantin-LaTour, 1870

Eduard Manet is seated at the easel. Also depicted are Renoir (back, center), Emile Zola (right of Renoir), Claude Monet (at the far right, in the background), and Frederic Bazille (the tallest figure).

... more from the de Young's exhibit on the Birth of Impressionism...

The importance of the relationships between the painters was readily apparent in the exhibit. Eduard Manet was the center of a group, sometimes called The Batignolles – named for the location of his studio, that gathered regularly at the Cafè Guerbois to talk about art and life. Painters Edgar Degas, Frederic Bazille, Henri Fantin-Latour, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley were regulars, along with influential writers Emile Zola and Louis Edmond Duranty. Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro sometimes joined them, too.

Bazille's Studio, by Frederic Bazille (and Edouard Manet), 1870

Bazille, born into a wealthy family, was generous in sharing his studio and materials with his less fortunate compatriots.

Portrait of Renoir, by Frederic Bazille, 1867

The exhibit showed paintings they did of each other. Bazille painted Renoir; Renoir painted Bazille; Renoir painted Monet.

Frederic Bazille at his Easel, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1867

Bazille, in Renoir's portrait, is painting a still life with a dead heron. Beside it, in the exhibition, was Sisley's painting of the same still life.

The Heron, by Alfred Sisley, 1867

Claude Monet, Painter, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1875

When Bazille painted his studio, above, he left himself out. It was Manet who painted in the figure of Bazille, at the easel in the center. And although Bazille was tall, Manet gave him the compliment of painting him oversized. Only a few months later, Bazille died during the Franco-Prussian war.

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