Lot 196
  • 196

Frédéric Bazille

450,000 - 650,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Frédéric Bazille
  • Thérèse lisant dans le parc de Méric
  • Signed F.Bazille and dated 67 (lower left); signed with the initials F.B, dated 67, dedicated à Thérèse and inscribed Méric (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 36 1/4 by 23 1/4 in.
  • 92 by 59.2 cm


Thérèse des Hours, France (acquired directly from the artist)
Henriette Blanche Auriol, France (by descent from the above)
Général Jules René Henry Cazalis, France (by descent from the above)
Galerie Eugène Blot, Paris (acquired from the above)
Ernst Horndasch, Munich (acquired from the above in 1923)
Acquired from the above and thence by descent


Michel Schulman, Frédéric Bazille, 1841-1870, Catalogue raisonné supplément 2, Paris, 2016, no. 5, illustrated p. 10


The edges of the canvas has been strip lined. There is an inscription on the reverse reading "à Thérèse Méric 67". The is some stable craquelure visible throughout the work and perhaps some very minor surface dirt. There is a patch on the reverse at upper center likely corresponding to a repair. There is a repaired tear about 3 inches in length extending near the right of the figure as well as a possible repair in the lower center of the canvas under the stretcher bar. Under UV light a few small areas of inpainting are visible in the sky between the leaves of the tree at center and in the leaves to the tree at far right. There are a few minor strokes of inpainting along the right edge, likely to address prior frame abrasion. Though not clearly visible under UV light there may be some inpainting to the figure's hand. This work is in good condition.For a more thorough condition report prepared by prepared by Simon Parkes Art Conservation please contact the Impressionist & Modern Art Department at +1 (212) 606 -7360.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Bazille was born in Montpellier to an affluent family, and he was inspired to paint after discovering the work of Delacroix. His family urged him to study medicine in addition to painting and for some time he agreed, moving to Paris in 1862 to pursue his dual curriculum. Before long he would abandon his anatomy textbooks and devote himself entirely to painting, enrolling in the studio of the academician Charles Gleyre, where his fellow students included Monet, Renoir and Sisley. “Gleyre,” Rewald notes, “was a modest man, disliking to lecture, and all in all rather indulgent; he seldom took up a brush and corrected a student’s work. Renoir afterwards stated that Gleyre had been ‘of no help to his pupils,’ but added that he had the merit ‘of leaving them pretty much to their own devices.’ Gleyre did not even have preferences in subject matter and let his students paint what they wanted” (John Rewald, The History of Impressionism, New York, 1961, pp. 72-74).

Being of relatively comfortable means, Bazille was generous to his less fortunate artist friends; he would often let his colleagues use his studio in Batignolles and borrow his materials. The neighborhood was a hotbed of artistic activity in the 1860s, and fellow residents included the poet Stéphane Mallarmé and Edouard Manet. Renoir would move in with Bazille around 1868, and Bazille’s letter to his parents to relay this news is revealing of his charitable nature: "I've extended my hospitality to one of my friends, a former student of Gleyre's, who lacks a studio at the moment. Renoir, that's his name, is a real worker, he takes advantage of my models and helps me pay for them" (quoted in Frédéric Bazille, Prophet of Impressionism (exhibition catalogue), Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn & Dixon Gallery, Memphis, 1992-93, p. 38). He later wrote to his mother in February of 1967, “Monet has popped up out of nowhere with a collection of magnificent canvases… With Renoir, that makes two hard-up painters I am putting up. It’s quite an infirmary here” (quoted in Michel Schulmann, Frédéric Bazille, 1841-1870, Catalogue raisonné: peintures, dessins, pastels, aquarelles; sa vie, son oeuvre, sa correspondence, Paris, 1995, p. 354, translated from the French). Bazille’s rooms on the Rue de la Condamine became a meeting place for these artists among so many others, and the space is immortalized in one of his most famous paintings, now housed in the Musée d’Orsay, depicting himself with Renoir, Zola, Manet and Monet engaged in an intense discussion about a canvas.

The subject of the present work, Thérèse des Hours, was Bazille’s cousin and primary subject for many of his best known canvases, including La Robe rose and his most famous Réunion de famille, both also in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay (see figs. 1 & 2). The Bazille and des Hours families summered together at the Méric estate, a magnificent homestead in Castelnau-le-Lez near Montepellier. Méric was of central importance to both families, serving not only as their summer residence but also a source of income, given the thirty acres of vineyards encompassed within its sweeping grounds. As Gabriel Sarraute once wrote, “Méric for him would always be synonymous with the heavenly long vacations” (Gabriel Sarraute, Rétrospective Bazille, La Peinture de l’été languedocien” in Arts, June 9, 1950, p. 8). It was here that he painted many of his greatest contributions to the historical canon of Impressionism, with its gardens serving as the backdrop for many masterworks including Réunion de famille, which was painted there in the same summer as Thérèse lisant dans le parc de Méric.

As Paul Perrin writes in his essay for the current Bazille retrospective on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., “Fréderic Bazille, who was killed before reaching the age of twenty-nine, painted only just over sixty pictures in less than eight years. During his lifetime, he sold not a single one and exhibited only five at the Salon. His early demise prevented him from taking part in the flourishing of impressionism and sharing the success of his friends Monet and Renoir, and any attention his paintings, nearly all kept at his parents’ home in Montpellier, were getting was exclusively from his family and their visitors. Everything seemed to be conspiring to condemn the artist to the limbo of art history, and yet, a hundred and fifty years on, we find Bazille’s work in the world’s most famous museums, and being celebrated once more” (Paul Perrin, “Frédéric Bazille’s Fame has Only Just Begun” in Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) and the Birth of Impressionism (exhibition catalogue), Musée Fabre, Montpellier, Musée d’Orsay, Paris & National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2016-17, p. 203).