There remains seldom little evidence of Bazille's sketchwork but the two books remaining served two different purposes. The first dates from around 1863 and contains very casual, exploratory work. The second shows how the artist had developed and these are exclusively for the purposes of studying for later paintings. It is these that hold the most value both artistically and financially. Thankfully, these two remaining documents have been well preserved and can be visited by prior arrangement, at the time of writing.
The best resource up to now on Bazille's drawings would have to be Frédéric Bazille, Album of drawings, which was published all the way back in 1921. Many of the pieces found in this book are now part of the collection of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris which itself hosts one of the finest displays of Impressionist art in the world. All of those found in this publication are study pieces for later paintings and you will recognise early preparation work for paintings such as View of the Village, The Western Ramparts at Aigues Mortes, La Toilette, Summer Scene (Bathers) and Ruth and Boaz within these sketchbooks.
The drawing displayed on this page was titled Manet and his Easel and was produced by Frederic Bazille in around 1868–70. Bazille himself spent a lot of time in the company of other members of the Impressionist movement and they would, from time to time, create portraits of each other in their working environments. This drawing is part of the Met Museum's collection in New York, USA. It is believed that this drawing was completed in Bazille's Paris studio on the rue de la Condamine. He was a generous, sociable man who allowed the likes of Monet and Manet to make use of his facilities without asking for anything in return. He was also financially setup for life and so did not have quite the same pressure on his art career as other members of this movement.
Manet and his Easel was produced in charcoal and white chalk which is fairly typical of Bazille's work across the two sketchbooks. The leaves of the books were blue paper which had faded down to a yellow-grey. This and several other impressionist artworks was gifted from the Robert Lehman Collection in 1975 and has remained under the Met Museum's ownership ever since. The size of 29.5 x 21.5 cm puts this inline with the format of the sketchbooks which needed to be easily portable but also large enough to enable the artist to experiment with different technical and compositional ideas.