1865-1937 | French
Jeune fille en jaune
(Girl in Yellow)
Signed "Lebasque" (lower left)
Oil on canvas
Known as "the painter of joy and light," Henri Lebasque is celebrated for his highly distinctive, brilliant palette inspired by the light and color of the South of France. The present work, entitled Jeune fille en jaune, embodies the joie de vivre that permeates his very best works. Complementary yellow, green and pink hues fill the canvas, punctuated by hints of brilliant blue. The sitter is almost certainly the artist's daughter, Marthe Lebasque, who became a favored subject of Lebasque after she was born in 1895. Framed by the lines of the window and wall behind her, the scene is characteristically intimate, with Marthe's serene gaze fixed outwards toward the viewer.
Lebasque was born in 1865 in Maine-et-Loire and moved to Paris in 1885, where he often visited the atelier of Léon Bonnat. He studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts and fell under the influence of his fellow students Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Most notably, he was a founding member of the Salon d’Automne in 1903 along with Henri Matisse, the annual exhibition that in 1905 featured the controversial paintings of Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Manguin, Vuillard and Rouault. The critic Louis Vauxcelles dubbed the group Les Fauves, or "wild beasts," due to their use of bright colors and wild, untamed lines.
Lebasque enjoyed greater popularity and commercial success during his lifetime than the other artists associated with Fauvism, largely due to what critics considered a sophisticated and subtle fluidity in his work. Today, his works can be found in important museums around the world, including the Musée d'Orsay (Paris), the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg), the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid) and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Madame de la Ville Fromoit and Madame Christine Lenoir.
Canvas: 25 1/2" high x 18 1/4" wide
Henri Lebasque: Catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Neuilly-sur-Marne, 2008, by D. Bazetoux, no. 606, p. 179 (illustrated)