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Bazille, Jean-Frédéric (1841-1870)  
 
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Bazille had high hopes for the acceptance of this painting at the Paris salon, writing about it "Mes amis ont été fort contents de mes études, surtout de mon homme nu. J'en suis bien aise parce que c'est la toile que je préférais." ("My friends have been very happy with my studies, especially of my nude man. I am delighted because it is the canvas that I preferred.") Its rejection was a great disappointment to him.

Karen Wilkin notes that Bazille was "better at the male nude than the female." Among Bazille's female nude subjects was La toilette (1870), in which an unclad white woman is attended by a black female servant wearing only a skirt of foreign design and a turban. The mistress's hand rests lightly on the servant's shoulder.

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To their side another female servant, this one white and in modern dress, holds a shawl. Her presence situates an otherwise exotic scene in contemporary culture. Porterfield sees in this composition "a concentration of Orientalist clichés that connoted a lesbian encounter."

Because Bazille's career was so short and since he did not leave a large body of work--some sixty-five oil paintings dating from 1862 to 1870--it is somewhat difficult to assess his place in art history. Wilkin describes him as "a serious man . . . struggl[ing] to find an individual voice and method when possibilities were enlarging."

His work shows the influence of painters from the past, in particular the Venetian Old Masters, Delacroix, and Courbet, but also shares characteristics with the work of his contemporaries such as Monet and Renoir. He is generally considered a pre-Impressionist or early Impressionist and is remembered as a talented participant in the inner circle of the nascent movement.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  European Art: Nineteenth Century

Several artists and art critics of the nineteenth century achieved a self-aware homosexual identity that is expressed in both their lives and their works, but lesbianism is only rarely depicted in terms of identity during this period.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Nude Males

Throughout much of history, the nude male figure was virtually the only subject that could be used to articulate homoerotic desire in publicly displayed works of art, as well as those works of art intended for private "consumption."

arts >> Eakins, Thomas

Although his personal sexual orientation is uncertain, American painter, photographer, and teacher Thomas Eakins is solidly aligned in the history of art with a homophile sensibility, as expressed particularly in his celebration of the male form.

literature >> Rimbaud, Arthur

Because his writing stresses liberation, the French "boy-poet" Arthur Rimbaud, whose art is based solely on his individual creativity, is a progenitor of modern gay poetics.

literature >> Verlaine, Paul

The poetry of Paul Verlaine celebrates both heterosexual and homosexual activity, including lesbian relationships.


    Bibliography
   

Bajou, Valerie M.C. "Bazille, (Jean-)Frédéric." The Dictionary of Art. Jane Turner, ed. New York: Grove's Dictionaries, 1996. 3:434-436.

Champa, Kermit S. "Frédéric Bazille: The 1978 Retrospective Exhibition." Arts Magazine 52.10 (June 1978): 108-110.

Jourdan, Aleth, et al. Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism. Brooklyn, NY: The Brooklyn Museum, 1992.

Porterfield, Todd. "Bazille, Jean-Frédéric." Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000. 103-105.

Schulman, Michel. Frédéric Bazillle 1841-1870: Catalogue raisonnée. Paris: Éditions de l'Amateur, 1995.

Wilkin, Karen. "Forever Young: Frédéric Bazille." The New Criterion (February 1993): 28-32.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Bazille, Jean-Frédéric  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 12, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/bazille_jf.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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