Jeune femme aux pivoines (1870)

Bazille, Frédéric (1841-1870)

Jeune femme aux pivoines (Young Woman with Peonies)
Oil on canvas, 60.3 x 75.5 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

Holding a bunch of peonies in one hand, a woman with brown skin leans forward, toward us from behind a large basket holding dozens of flowers in this horizontal painting. The basket holding the flowers spans the width of the canvas, and the woman is shown behind it from the chest up. She wears a cream-white, long-sleeved blouse with scalloped trim around the high neck. She wears coral-red earrings, and a plaid cloth in tones of rust red, slate blue, pale purple, and black is tied tightly over her black hair, which is visible over her ears. Her brow is slightly furrowed, and she looks at us with large, dark eyes. Her full mouth is closed, the corners faintly downturned. She reaches her right arm, on our left, toward us with a bouquet of three pink-and-white peonies and greenery. Her basket is filled with yellow and red tulips, pink roses, white and purple lilac, and other white, pink, yellow, and blue flowers, and it takes up the bottom third of the composition. The woman and basket are shown against a dove-gray background. The artist prominently signed and dated the work with red letters near the upper right corner, near the woman’s head: “F. Bazille. 1870.” (NGA)