HENRI BAPTISTE LEBASQUE
Henri Lebasque (1865–1937) was a Post-Impressionist artist, known as the ‘painter of joy and light.’ Lebasque is admired for the intimacy of his subject matter and his unique delight in colour and form. He was acclaimed for his individuality, his delicate sense of light and his personal charm.
Born in Champigné in western France, his artistic talents were evident from a young age. In 1885 Lebasque went to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts and entered the studio of the notable portrait painter and professor Léon Bonnat. In his early career Lebasque participated in the annual art society exhibitions and the Paris Salons. Lebasque adopted the pointillist technique in his early career and his works show a profound influence in the colour theories of Paul Signac and Georges Seurat. His works were marked by his contact with other youthful painters, in particular Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard who founded the influential Nabis Group. The Nabis originated as a rebellious group of young student artists who banded together at the Academie Julian in Paris and aimed to create an avant-garde way of painting. They viewed a work of art as the visual expression of an artist’s interpretation of nature in personal aesthetic metaphors and symbols.
In 1903, Lebasque and Henri Matisse and other likeminded artists founded the Salon d'Automne. In 1912, the Salon d’Automne hosted the debut exhibition of "Les Fauves" (the wild beasts). The Fauvists’ painterly qualities and use of bright colours profoundly inspired Lebasque who adopted this style. Though the flatness of form and colour took on a subtler effect in Lebasque's work than in the works of other Fauvist artists, he was championed by critics for the intimacy of his themes and the joy in his forms and palette.
The artist Henri Mangiun introduced Lebasque to the South of France which marked a radical departure in his paintings, changing his colour palette. In 1924, he moved permanently to Le Cannet on the French Riviera, where he lived until his death in 1937. Lebasque refocused his attention to scenes of light and cheer, depicting numerous compositions of his family and the landscape and countryside surrounding Saint Tropez.
Lebasque's works can be found in many important public and private institutions around the world, including the Petit Palais in Geneva, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spain, the National Museum of Western Art in Japan, and the Harvard University Art Museum.