BAZAINE, Jean (1904-2001)

SILKSCREEN - 280/300, 1953
Color silk-screen, signed lower right 'Bazaine 53', numbered lower left '280/300'
74.5 x 53.5 cm
Date of entry at UNESCO
Country of origin France
Donation made to UNESCO by the artist Jean Bazaine upon the inauguration of the mosaic "Rythme d'eau" at UNESCO Headquarters.
© Photo: UNESCO
Adagp, Paris 2012

Biography of the artist

Jean Bazaine was born in 1904. He attended the Académie Julian in 1922 and later worked with the sculptor Paul Landowski. He studied Art history at the Sorbonne and began to paint in 1924, drawing at the Louvre or from nature.

Following his first exhibition, held in 1932, he received strong encouragement from Bonnard. Bazaine first directed his research towards still lifes, the human figure, landscapes and trees, before becoming interested in the four elements (water, earth, fire, air) which are at the origin the world. His works always kept a link with the real, which is why he refused pure abstraction. In his 'Notes on painting of our day' he wrote: "One must situate oneself at the intersection of all sensations, of all sentiments: there the secret of the universe lies. This is why I refuse pure abstraction."

With André Lejard he organized in 1941, despite official condemnations of "degenerate art", the exhibition "Twenty young painters of the French tradition", which included works by Maurice Esteve, Charles Lapicque, Jean Le Moal, Alfred Manessier, Edouard Pignon, Gustave Singier. Under the guise of the term ‘tradition’, these artists escaped censorship by Vichy, although their non-figurative paintings were far from it. The collective exhibition "Twelve painters of today" held at the Galerie de France in 1943 presented works by Bazaine, Bores, Chauvin, Esteve, Fougeron, Gischia, Lapicque, Le Moal, Gable, Singier, Villon, Lautrec, Tal-Coat; despite their aesthetic differences, this group of artists would become known as the New School of Paris.

Bazaine’s painting slowly moved away from constructed form to a dissolution of line in favor of light and in a sort of accordance with the major natural rhythms. He did not limit himself to painting, but also adopted other techniques such as stained glass and mosaic. He produced stained glass windows for the church of Assy (1943-1944), the baptistery of the sacre-coeur church in Audincourt (1954) or even the cathedral of Saint-Die (1984-1986, Vosges), among others. Stained glass was a medium that Bazaine particularly appreciated for its interaction with light. In 1951 he created a monumental mosaic for the façade of the Sacre-coeur church in Audincourt, in 1959-1960 for the UNESCO building in Paris and in 1963 for the Maison de la Radio in Paris, among others. He also created a mosaic for the Senate (Luxembourg Palace, Paris) in 1970, as well as the enamelled lava decoration for the walls and ceiling of the subway station "Cluny-La Sorbonne." He passed away in Clamart in 2001.

In 2005 his work was presented in the exhibition "Lyrical Flight" held at the Luxembourg Museum alongside works by Soulages or Schneider.

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