Summer scene
Summer scene - 1869 - Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge USA
DEBUSSY - Pagodes, from "Engravings" (1903)
French version





Frederic Bazille was born in a Protestant family of the upper middle class of Montpellier in the south of France. His father was a rich landowner and wine grower as well as a notable of the city of Montpellier .

In 1862, he comes to Paris to continue with his studies of medicine, while spending most of his time at the School of Fine Arts to paint in the Workshop of Charles Gleyre, where he forms a friendship with Monet, Renoir, and Sisley.

His artistic vocation went back to his meeting with a friend of his parents, the art collector and patron from Montpellier Alfred Bruyas , who influenced Courbet as well as the Impressionists. At his beginnings Bazille's painting will be inspired by the works of Courbet and Manet.


Bazille painting "the heron"

Musée d'Orsay, Paris


In Easter of 1863, he stays with Monet at Chailly in the forest of Fontainebleau in order to experiment with open air painting.

The pink dress

Musée d'Orsay, Paris


In 1864 he rents an artist studio in the street of Vaugirard and stays in Honfleur with Monet in June where he meets Boudin and Jongkind. On his return to Paris, he gets to know that he has failed his examinations of medicine and obtains his parents' permission to totally devote himself to painting.

In 1865 he shares with Monet, whom he helps financially, a workshop in the street of Furstenberg.

He submits two works to the Official Salon of 1866, "Girl at the piano " and "Still life with fish", the latter being accepted.

Thereafter he will be regularly admitted to exhibit to the Salon.

The same year, he shares with Renoir a new studio located in Visconti street.


Thereafter he will move in the district of Batignolles, in the street de la Condamine, near the Café Guerbois of which he had become a regular visitor.

It is in this new workshop that he executed in 1870 his famous painting " Bazille's Studio, rue de la Condamine", where one can see him presenting a new work at Manet and Monet, whereas his friend Maître plays at the piano and Zola discusses with Renoir.

This painting with an open composition - where Manet himself painted the high silhouette of Bazille - underlines the friendly and good working relationships of the protagonists with no hierarchical order between them.




Bazille's Studio, rue de la Condamine
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Pissarro, Cézanne, and sometimes Courbet, visited him in his successive studios. He was also one of the rare persons able to face verbal arguments with erudite and ironic painter Degas, showing of a clear thinking and a realism which one can find in his paintings.

Summer Scene

Fogg Art Museum , Harvard University
Cambridge, Ma. USA



The work of Bazille, stopped by his untimely death during the war of 1870, shows new compositions developed with audacity and diversity : open-air portraits with bottom panoramic as in " The dress pink" 1864 or " Village view of Castelnau-le-Lez " 1868 , scene of family as his large painting "Family gathering" 1867 (152x230), scenes of plein-air such as "Summer scene" 1869 .

He particularly applied himself to combine figures painting in open-air with an intense concentration on natural light .



Bazille voluntarily engaged, with enthusiasm, in the regiment of the Zouaves just before the war of 1870. He was killed while fighting at Beaune-la-Rolande (close to Orleans) on November 28, 1870, at the age of 29.

A number of works of Frederic BAZILLE are kept at the Fabre Museum of Montpellier.