Henri Lebasque (1865-1937)

Biography

Henri Lebasque was born in Champigné, France in 1865. In 1885, he began studying in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and subsequently entered the studio of the artist Bonnat. He participated regularly in exhibitions of the artists' association and in the salons of Paris whilst maintaining an intense artistic exchange with young painters, especially Vuillard and Bonnard, the founders of the artists' associations "Les Nabis" (the prophets) and the "Intimists."

Famed as a 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. Such were the qualities that prompted Beaunier to write: 'Lebasque merits the renown of a lovely original artist, who knows his calling, uses it well, and never abuses it' (Gazette des Beaux Arts, May, 1908, p. 366)

In 1903, together with his friend Matisse and other artists, Henri Lebasque founded the Salon d'Automne. In 1912, the Salon exhibited works by a group of artists, which, because of its distinct style, became popular as "Les Fauves" (wild beasts). Lebasque also changed his style in the same vein as "Les Fauves," taking on a similar flatness of form and colour, but maintaining a subtler style.

Lebasque was introduced to the South of France by the artist Henri Manguin. This lead to a radical transformation in Lebasque's paintings, changing his colour palette forever. Other travels included the Vendée, Normandie and Brittany, although Lebasque would always prefer the small idyllic villages of the South of France.

His work is represented in French museums, notably Angers, Geneva (Petit Palais), Lille (Musée des Beaux-Arts), Nantes and Paris (Musée d'Orsay) as well as many more around the world.

Lebasque died at Cannet, Alpes Maritimes in 1937. Twenty years after his death, the Musée des Ponchettes in Nice presented the first retrospective of the works of Henri Lebasque.