The Little Gardener Frederic Bazille Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Little Gardener by Jean Frederic Bazille is an oil on canvas landscape painting created between 1866 and 1867. The 127cm by 170cm painting was created by artist Jean Frederic Bazille, a French artist from Montpellier, and is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

The artist, Jean Frederic Bazille, was born into a family of wealthy art patrons who supported the Impressionist Artists, and as a result he became an impressionist artist. He trained first with Charles Gleyre in Paris but also with Monet and Renoir, but although he admired their work, he had his own distinctive style and way of working, and his work with figures and portraits is what he is remembered for.

The Little Gardener painting shows a beautiful landscaped garden with a boy or man in the foreground, dressed in white breeches, a pink shirt and a boater hat. The figure is intent on watering the foreground plants, but the plants and scenery in the foreground are unclear, while further back in the garden there is more clarity. It is unusual for the foreground to be blurred and the middle ground clear. The plants in the foreground are some sort of silver white with red splashes that may be flowers. The middle central part of the painting depicts a driveway, path or track leading a way out of the garden maybe, to an unknown distance.

In the middle left of the painting but drawing the gaze, is a magnificent flowering shrub, a Peony or Rhododendron perhaps, in glorious full bloom, and out of the plants in the garden, this lone shrub stands out. Around the shrub and sweeping the garden are green and neatly trimmed lawns. In the background are trees, with the most outstanding being a cedar, spruce or pine, tall and slender with random elegant branches splaying from a slim trunk.

The sky is light blue behind the trees and garden and has fluffy white clouds, no birds and no sun, although the light on the clouds and the shadows on the lawn suggest sunlight. The green and the flowers, the gardener's clothing and watering can and the trees in leaf would suggest spring or summer for the season. Apart from the gardener and the plants, there is no other life in the picture, it is a very tranquil and isolated scene.