View of the Garden from the Window, Ca. 1906.
Oil on cardboard., H. 0.58 m; W. 0.75 m
Signed lower left: Lebasque.
Provenance: Private collection.
Denise Bazetoux, Henri Lebasque, catalogue raisonné, 2008, t.1, no.1144 (ill.).
Born in Champigné, Lebasque went to Paris in 1885 and studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He then entered the atelier of the portraitist Bonnat and began to exhibit at the annual art society exhibitions and the Paris Salons. He later assisted Humbert with the decorative murals of the Pantheon. Lebasque’s vision was coloured by his contact with younger painters, especially Vuillard and Bonnard, founders of the ‘Nabis’ group and ‘Intimists’ who first favoured the calm and quietude of domestic subject matter. From his first acquaintance with Seurat and Signac, he learnt the significance of a colour theory which stressed the use of complementary colours in shading. Lebasque was a founding member of the Salon d’Automne in 1903 with his friend Matisse. Two years later a group of artists exhibited there including Rouault, Derain, Vuillard, Manguin and Matisse. Dubbed, ‘Les Fauves’ for their stylistic savagery, it was noted by the critic Vauxcelles, that Lebasque’s talent arrived ‘in the midst of the roaring of the unchained beasts’.
In 1924 he moved to Le Cannet on the French riviera, where he shared a model with his friend and neighbour Bonnard. Lebasque was acclaimed for his individuality, his delicate sense of light and his personal charm. Such were the qualities that prompted Beaunier to write: ‘Lebasque merits the renown of a lovely original artist, who knows his calling, uses it well, and never abuses it’ (Gazette des Beaux Arts, May, 1908, p. 366). Famed as a painter of ‘joy and light’, Lebasque is admired for the intimacy of his subject matter and his unique delight in colour and form.