European Art: 19th Century

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Woman in a Moorish Costume, 1869

Jean-Frédéric Bazille

French, 1841-1870
Oil on canvas
39-1/4 x 23-1/4 in. (99.7 x 59 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1997.2.P
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Born into a wealthy Protestant family, Jean-Frédéric Bazille became part of the Impressionist circle through his artistic achievements as well as his unofficial patronage. He painted alongside his close friend Claude Monet, to whom he often loaned money, and he was particularly drawn to Alfred Sisley and Édouard Manet, whose influence on the current painting is unmistakable. The studied arrangement of the scene—with the props carefully placed on the wall and at the model’s feet, amid the sparsely defined space of the artist’s studio—testifies to the construct of the “exotic” female in the Western male imagination. Bazille was a central figure in the Impressionist group during the 1860s, but his untimely death in the Franco-Prussian War prevented his association with the group, which was not publicly recognized until the first Impressionist exhibition, in 1874.

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