Henri Lebasque was a French post-impressionist painter and a founding member of the Salon d’Automne along with Henri Matisse in 1903. Matisse influence can been seen on the artist in this work where Lebasque has used a simple line drawing to capture the female figure in water, with somewhat abstract facial details.
Lebasque began his education at the École régionale des beaux-arts d’Angers, and moved to Paris in 1886 where he studies under Léon Bonnat, and assisted Ferdinand Humbert with the decorative murals at the Panthéon. During this period Lebasque also met two artists who would later have a large impact on his work, Camille Pissarro and Auguste Renoir.
Whilst in Paris Lebasque was influenced by the Nabis Group, in particular by its founders, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. The Nabis originated as a rebellious group of young student artists who banded together at the Academie Julian in Paris, and aimed to create an avant-garde way of painting where a work of art is the end product and the visual expression of an artist’s production of nature in personal aesthetic metaphors and symbols.
After 1905, at the Salon d’Automne, Lebasque met Henri Manguin, who made him discover the south of France. This time, the south of France would lead to a radical change in Lebasque’s colour palette. His environments are warm and welcoming, and his compositions are often based on very recognisable places.
Unlike many of the avant-garde artists of the early 20th Century, Lebasque had some commercial success during his lifetime. His work decorated both theatres of the Champs-Elysées and a transatlantic sealiner.
Lebasque died at Cannet in the French Riviera in 1937.
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