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L'orage au jardin



Jean Bazaine

Currently not on display
Acquired in 1953
Inventory number 22

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 3400 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

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This work by the French painter Jean Bazaine consists of planes of colour. He used bright red, purple and blue colours, as well as an ochre, alternating with black. There is a broad band of white running diagonally across the middle of the canvas. This painting is an abstract representation of thunder. The diagonal band of white, which is interrupted, can be seen as a flash of lightning which casts a bright light over a garden of flowers and plants. The red, purple, blue and yellow colours in the painting refer to flowers and the large amount of black represents the darkness during the thunderstorm. The smaller areas of colour, sometimes collected in clusters, support the movement of the head. To the left and right, the image is separate from the edge of the painting. At the top and the bottom it appears to be cut off as though it is a fragment from a much larger work.

Bazaine’s paintings and drawings are based on nature. However, he does not represent his themes in a naturalist manner. He evokes the theme in an abstract way with the use of colour, rhythm and movement. Bazaine believed that a painting should embody the essence of the universe. He did not wish to represent specific details, but rather wanted to paint the essence of natural phenomena such as the blowing of the wind or the flow of water. Although his paintings are abstract, he continued to make drawings and watercolours based on visual reality. In that way he wanted to prevent himself from working too systematically; in fact, he wished to remain open to nature so that he could constantly discover new aspects.

In 1941 Bazaine organized an exhibition in Paris entitled 'Jeunes Peintres de Tradition Française'. This was intended to be a protest against the cultural policy of the German occupiers. The title indicated that the participating artists wished to continue the French tradition, but in a new way. After the Second World War, this group, which compromised Bissière, Poliakoff and Manessier, as well as Bazaine, was known as the École de Paris.