Negress with Peonies 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 painting entitled Negress with Peonies by Frederic Bazille is another example of the artist's neo-impressionism, which was influenced by the artists he emulated, but which also represented a new form of impressionism that entailed a desire for more realism.

The painting was completed around 1870 and is now located in the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France. The artist captures the expression of concentration on the woman's face as she arranges the flowers, and the light glints on the vase so that it almost looks like a photograph of porcelain. The detail is more defined that some of Bazille's peers at this time, again showing the new move to demonstrate a faithful image as the artist perceived it.

Bazille was particularly influenced by contemporaries such as Renoir and Sisley, and also Monet, who became a close friend of the artist and who shared a studio with him later in his career. However, the style of Bazille's paintings has been shown to vary demonstrating an experimental slant to his work that indicated how he tried out certain techniques that he observed in his artist peer group. The impressionists were keen to create a more relaxed style than the traditional schools of art which taught rigid rules and had pedantic constraints, and much of the subject matter of the impressionists was outdoors in 'plein air' showing different aspects of nature such as water, trees and the seashore.

Bazille became interested in art from an early age after seeing paintings by Delacroix, and his family agreed that he could study art as long as he studied medicine alongside his creative activities. Bazille moved to Paris in 1862, and after dropping medicine he became interested in impressionism and began studies at the studio of Charles Gleyre. He quickly started to move in the circles of other impressionists such as Monet, Sisley and Manet and was generous with his wealth, bestowing materials and resources on his artist friends.

In the painting of the Negress with Peonies the picture is one of a number that the artist painted on a similar theme at this time, and this particular woman was said to preoccupy his attention as he tried to capture her image. Another painting of the woman on a similar theme is held in the Musée Fabre, and a third is now in the National Gallery, Washington.