The good life is Henri Lebasque's trademark. It blossoms beneath the languid Mediterranean sun, subtly illuminating his paintings. Here, his delicate shades of pink, blue and mauve dissolve the subjects by wrapping them in a sunny warmth that glows in the air. This softness, which radiates from the works he painted on the French Riviera, was just waiting to be expressed from the very beginning.
Despite becoming friends with the Fauvists at the Salon d'Automne, with whom he exhibited, he did not share their penchant for brash colours. Lebasque trained with Léon Bonnat (a notable portrait painter and teacher) after arriving in Paris in 1886 but Renoir and Pissarro were his main influences. He met Pissarro in 1902 and never forgot the lessons the Impressionist master taught him. After meeting Maximillian Luce and Paul Signac in 1893, he dabbled in Pointillism for a while. Seeking his own way, Lebasque eventually found it in the South of France, to which Fauvist painter Henri Manguin had introduced him.
In 1906, he adopted a freer touch and ethereal pastel colours in harmony with a happy life, of which he depicted selected moments in peaceful villas and Arcadian gardens, on riverbanks or sunny beaches. He still travelled to the Vendée, Brittany and Normandy, but the Mediterranean coast was his new adopted home. He lived in Saint-Tropez and Sainte-Maxime before settling in Le Cannet, near Pierre Bonnard, in 1924, while Matisse lived in Nice. Between his two friends, the Nabi and the Fauve, he developed a fresh personal style whose sensitivity ensured his success. A retrospective at the Musée des Ponchettes in Nice paid him tribute in 1957. His studio was dispersed at Drouot in 1983.
August Saturday 15 . Cannes - BESCH CANNES AUCTION OVV.
By Sophie REYSSAT
Article from la Gazette Drouot of July 24, 2020 - Page 6