DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 24.0 x 20.0 in./ 61.0 x 50.8 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed, titled and inscribed ‘Evreux 77’
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
À Edmond Bazire
DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 24.0 x 20.0 in./ 61.0 x 50.8 cm
This wonderful painting depicts the writer Edmond Bazire’s garden in Evreux, Normandy. Painted when the artist was just 22, Franc-Lamy has used quick, broad brushstrokes, to depict the blossoming trees and dappled sunlight which fills the scene. This perceptive rendering of light combined with Franc-Lamy’s soft brushstrokes shows how much the Impressionists influenced him.
Edmond Bazire was notable for being the biographer and close friend of the painter Édouard Manet. Franc-Lamy met Manet at the salon of the writer Nina de Callias, whose portrait by Manet of 1873 is now in the collection of the Musée D’orsay. The two well-dressed figures in the foreground of the composition seem to be Manet and Bazire in conversation.
Private Collection, United Kingdom
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Pierre-Désiré-Eugène-Franc Lamy was born in Clermont-Ferrand on 12th May1855. He was very young when he was sensitized to artistic practices thanks to his maternal uncle, François-Joseph Faure, who was a master glassmaker. Moving to Paris he entered the municipal art school of the 9th arrondissement, while attending the studio of the painter Isidore Pils, with fellow classmates Norbert Gœneutte and Frédéric Samuel Cordey. He passed the entrance examination at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1873 and tried, after the death of Pils, to leave Henri Lehmann’s studio for Jean-Baptiste Léon Gérôme’s studio. Unfortunately the application was rejected and he left the school.
Living in Montmartre, Franc-Lamy became close friends with the artists and writers living in the area at the time. He would frequent the cafes of La Nouvelle Athènes (where Degas painted L’absinthe) and Le Rat Mort, both in Place Pigalle. It is there that he associated with the group that formed around Auguste Renoir, introduced to him by the painter Marcellin Desboutin. It is also there that he met the composer Ernest Cabaner, for whom he produced advertising posters for the composer’s shows. Through Cabaner he met the salon hostess and poet Nina de Callias, who would later become his lover. Franc-Lamy’s first works were influenced by the Impressionists who surrounded him, of which À Edmond Bazire is a prime example. He was primarily a landscape architect, drawing inspiration from his travels to Venice or Bruges. However he would later specialise in the female nude in genre painting, like his friend Manet.
In 1880, and then annually from 1883, Franc-Lamy exhibited at the Salon organized by the Society of French Artists, a major French artistic where any artist looking for recognition would exhibit. The first two paintings exhibited in 1880 are portraits, as well as the one sent in 1883. From 1884, Franc-Lamy gave in the genre painting which assured him a certain success with the criticism and the jury. His works are increasingly populated by naked female bodies. He also exhibited in Paris at the pavilion of the arts during the Universal Exhibition of 1889 and during that of 1900.