Summer Scene
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

When this painting was first exhibited at the Salon of 1870, critic and artist Zacharie Astruc wrote of Bazille, “The sun inundates his canvases.” It appears that Bazille began this composition in his Paris studio but completed the details of the landscape after traveling to the south of France, where he painted a similar landscape of the river Lez. Although individual figures have been identified as derivations from Italian Renaissance sources, including Andrea Mantegna and Sebastiano del Piombo, the inspiration for the subject may have been the modernist novel Manette Salomon (1867), in which the Goncourt brothers describe a brilliantly lit scene of young men bathing. The artist, one of the most important and influential exponents of the “new painting” that gave rise to impressionism, died in the Franco-Prussian War, four years before the first impressionist exhibition was held.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Jean Frédéric Bazille, French (Montpelier 1841 - 1870 Beaune-la-Rolande)
Summer Scene
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Scene d'Ete / Les Baigneurs
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
160 x 160.7 cm (63 x 63 1/4 in.)
frame: 192.1 x 192.4 x 12.4 cm (75 5/8 x 75 3/4 x 4 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: F. Bazille, 1869
The family of Jean Frédéric Bazille [probably Marc Bazille, his brother], by descent; to Mr. and Mrs. Jules-François Meynier de Salinelles, Montpellier gift [1]; to Fogg Art Museum, 1937.

[1] Mme de Salinelles was a niece of the artist and the daughter of Marc Bazille.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. Meynier de Salinelles
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
Publication History

[Unidentified article], L'Amour de l'Art (January 1927), p. 26

G. Poulain, Bazille et ses amis (Paris, France, 1932), no. 36, pp. 152, 171, 176, 218

"A Painting by Bazille", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, November 1937), vol. VII, no. 1, p. 15, repr.

"Cambridge: Gift of a Painting by a Rare Impressionist, Bazille", Art News (November 27, 1937), vol. XXXVI, no. 9, p. 19

[Unidentified article], Boston Evening Transcript (Boston, MA, November 20, 1937), repr.

"Bazille Painting for Fogg", Art Digest (June 1938), p. 19

Ernst Scheyer, "The Beginnings of Impressionism", The Art Quarterly (Spring 1942), pp. 127-128, ill. p. 124

John Rewald, The History of Impressionism [1st ed.], Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1946), p. 196, repr. p. 199

Bernard Dorival, "La Scene d'Eté de Bazille et Cezanne", Musées de France (May 1949), vol. IV, pp. 94-96

François Daulte, Frederic Bazille et son temps, Pierre Cailler (Geneva, Switzerland, 1952), no. 44, pp. 133, 184, repr.

Anne V. Dort, "French Art of the 19th Century", Boston Symphony Orchestra Concert Bulletin (Boston, MA, 1958 -1959), no. 21, pp. 1316-1317

John Canaday, Mainstreams of Modern Art, Henry Holt and Co. (New York, NY, 1959), p. 224-225, repr. in b/w as fig. 260

Pierre Courthion, Au Temps de l'Impressionisme, Nouvelles Editions Françaises (Paris, France, 1964), repr. in color no. 25

Kermit S. Champa, "The Genesis of Impressionism" (Thesis, Harvard University, 1964), Unpublished

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT, 1967), n.p.

Gerd Muehsam, ed., French Painters and Paintings from the 14th Century to Post-Impressionism, Ungar (New York, NY, 1970), pp. 491-493, repr.

Pierre Courthion, Impressionism, part of The Library of Great Art Movements, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1972), p. 166, repr. in color

Kermit S. Champa, Studies in Early Impressionism, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT, 1973), pp. 89-90, plate 23

John Rewald, The History of Impressionism [4th ed.], Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1973), p. 234

Franz Schulze, "Frederic Bazille: 'Lost Impressionist' ", Art in America (September 1978 - October 1978), p. 101 repr. in color, p. 102 text

F. Daulte and J. Patrice Marandel, Frederic Bazille and Early Impressionism, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1978), no. 43, p. 95, text and repr. in b/w

Diane Kelder, The Great Book of French Impressionism, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), color plate 18

John Canaday, Mainstreams of Modern Art [2nd ed.], Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY, 1981), repr. in b/w fig 309, p. 260

Yann Le Pichon, Les Peintres du Bonheur, Robert Laffont (Paris, France, 1983), repr. in b/w, p. 112

Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, exh. cat., Abbeville Press/Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1985), repr. in color, fig. 15, p. 30

Yann Le Pichon, Sur les Traces de Gauguin, Robert Laffont (Paris, France, 1986), detail repr. in b/w p. 78

Denis Thomas, The Age of the Impressionists, St Michael, Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd. (London, England, 1987), repr. in color, p. 118

Belinda Thomson and Michael Howard, Impressionism, Bison Books (London, England, 1988), pp. 26-27, ill.

Therese Dolan, "Frederic Bazille and the Goncourt Brothers' Manette Salomon", Gazette des Beaux-Arts (February 1990), repr. b/w fig. 3, p. 101; text p. 101

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 75, color plate; pp. 98, 240, repr. b/w cat. no. 328

John Russell Taylor, Impressionist Dreams, Little, Brown & Company (Boston, MA, 1990), repr. as fig. 1 (frontispiece)

Nobuo Abe, The Great History of Art: Impressionism (Tokyo, Japan, 1990 - 1991), repr. in color p. 70

Bernard Denvir, Impressionism, the Painters and the Paintings, Studio Editions (London, England, 1991), repr. in color fig. 132, p. 142

Michael Kimmelman, "A Tragic Harbinger of the New", The New York Times (New York, NY, November 13, 1992), repr. in b/w

François-Bernard Michel, Bazille: 1841-1870, Bernard Grasset (Paris, France, 1992), repr. in b/w (n.p.)

Musée Fabre, Bazille: Traces et Lieux de la Creation, exh. cat., Musée Fabre (Montpellier, France, 1992), repr. in b/w no. 23, p. 23

François Daulte, Frederic Bazille et les Debuts de l'Impressionisme, La Bibliothèque des Arts (Paris, France, 1992), repr. p. 149, text p. 150

Frederic Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY, 1992), repr. p. 76, p. 118; text p. 119, catalog no. 25

Ingo F. Walther, Malerei des Impressionismus, 1860-1920, Benedikt Taschen Verlag (Köln, Germany, 1992), repr. in color, p. 75

Colin B. Bailey, "Bazille: 'The Astonishing Fullness of Light' ", Apollo (March 1993), p. 185

Great French Paintings from the Barnes Foundation, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY, 1993), repr. b/w fig. 2, p. 104; mentioned p. 104

Francis Frascina, Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the 19th Century, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1993), repr. b/w p. 176; text p. 174

Pascal Bonafoux, Les Plaisirs et les Jours, Editions Herscher (Paris, France, 1994), p. 46, repr. in color p. 47

Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette, Origins of Impressionism, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1994), pp. 274-275, repr. in color fig. 337

Robert Boardingham, Impressionist Masterpieces in American Museums, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc. (New York, NY, 1996), pp. 34-5

Doreen Bolger, ed., Thomas Eakins and the Swimming Picture, exh. cat., Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth, TX, 1996), pp. 87-88

Kermit S. Champa and Dianne W. Pitman, Monet & Bazille: A Collaboration, High Museum of Art / Harry Abrams (Atlanta, GA / New York, NY, 1998), Pp. 75-77

Nancy Locke, Manet and the Family Romance, Princeton University Press (Princeton and Oxford, 2001), p. 175; repr. in b/w as fig. 97, p. 178

Norma Broude, ed., Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris, Rutgers University Press (New Jersey, 2002), pp. 154-174, repr. in b/w as fig. 55

Margaret Werth, The Joy of Life: the idyllic in French art, circa 1900, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA, 2002), repr. p. 157 as fig. 71

Nancy Locke, "Cezanne's Bathers, Watteau, and the Idea of Fantasy", Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts (2003), vol. 77, no. 1/2, pp. 18-31, p. 28, repr. as fig. 13

Richard R. Brettell, "Eakins and the Male Nude in French Art, 1850-1890", exh. cat., Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME, 2004), pp. 24-37; repr. in color, p. 38; checklist, p. 145

Randall Griffin, Homer, Eakins and Anschutz: The Search for American Identity in the Gilded Age, Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA, 2004), pp. 77-80, repr. in b/w as fig. 33

Henri Loyrette, L'Art francais: le XIXeme siècle, Flammarion (Paris, France, 2006), repr. as fig. 69, p. 252

Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, Pearson Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2006), pp. 404-407, ill. p. 405

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 158, rep.

Sebastian Smee, A Summer Sojourn in the South of France. Frame by Frame. Unearthing Hidden Treasures in the Collections of New England Museums, The Boston Globe, section G, page 5, November 13, 2012, section G, page 5, reproduced in color

Michel Hilaire and Paul Perrin, Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) and the Birth of Impressionism, exh. cat., Flammarion (Paris, 2016), pp. 18-19, 39-43, 104, 138-144, 152, 165, 188, 203, 213, 248, cat. no. 53, fig. 86 repr. p. 18, 43, 139, 248, and end page

Exhibition History

Annual Exhibition, 1870, Salon, Paris, Paris, 01/01/1870 - 12/31/1870

Retrospective Bazille, Salon, Paris, Paris, 08/01/1910 - 12/31/1910

Retrospective Bazille, Exposition Internationale, Montpellier, 01/01/1927 - 12/31/1927

Modern French Painting, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 11/15/1937 - 12/15/1937

Unidentified Exhibition, Word's Fair, 1940, World's Fair, 1940, New York, 01/01/1940 - 12/31/1940

Exposition Organisee au profit du Musee de Montpellier, Galerie Wildenstein, Paris, 06/01/1950 - 06/30/1950

French Art of the 19th Century, Symphony Hall, Boston, 03/24/1959 - 04/24/1959

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Frederic Bazille and Early Impressionism, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 03/04/1978 - 04/30/1978

Modern Art at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/21/1985 - 01/05/1986

Frederic Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 07/11/1992 - 10/04/1992; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, 11/12/1992 - 01/24/1993; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, 02/14/1993 - 04/25/1993

Les origines de l'Impressionnisme, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 04/19/1994 - 08/08/1994; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Drawings and Prints, New York, 09/14/1994 - 01/08/1995

Origins of Impressionism, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 04/19/1994 - 08/08/1994; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 09/19/1994 - 01/08/1995

Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000

European Muses, American Masters: 1870 to 1950, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, 06/23/2004 - 10/17/2004

Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 2700 Impressionism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 06/30/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/01/2017

Frederic Bazille et la naissance de l'impressionnisme, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 06/25/2016 - 10/16/2016; Musée d'Orsay, Paris, 11/15/2016 - 03/05/2017; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 04/09/2017 - 07/09/2017

Subjects and Contexts

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