Henri Lebasque

1865 (Champigné) - 1937 (Le Cannet)

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After his graduation from the Angers Fine Art school he went to Paris in 1885 to study with the master Leon Bonnat. In 1893, Lebasque had his first exhibition at the Salon des Independants, where he met Paul Signac and Maximilien Luce. One year later he began to visit Camille Pissarro who was one of the first to recognize his talents in 1903, praising it at the Salon des Independants. That year occurred the first Salon d’Automne, Lebasque was one of its founding members.

From 1900, the artist painted along the Marne River in a style combining elements of Impressionism and Pointillism. At the suggestion of Henri Manguin he moved with his family to the south of France. He painted in Sanary, Nice and Le Cannet where he settled permanently in 1924. In that region of strong sunlight and bright colors, he became enamored of the Fauve artists, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Louis Valtat.

He does not adhere to the Fauve violence in colour and uses a freer and broader brushstroke, favouring delicate and ethereal tones. He is closer to Pissarro and his impressionism in minors which he adopts until 1906. In Le Cannet, he befriended Pierre Bonnard and the two artists shared the same models. Apollinaire wrote about his art of half-tones ‘the sensitivity of the artist merges with the light inspiring him’.

Painting during the Postimpressionist period, Henri Lebasque exhibited for thirty years at the Salon d’Automne and Salon des Independents with artist friends Maximilien Luce, Paul Signac and Henri Manguin. He is known as a ‘painter of the good life’ because his works depict members of his family at home, in gardens, on terraces and by the seashore. These scenes of daily life are imbued with a quiet innocence and painted in a spontaneous yet well-composed manner.