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Picturing a World

Hot stove in a studio

I loved this picture when I came across it early in my research—it was so specific and full of workaday details. Here was what the gray walls artists wanted for neutral light looked like, along with a chair for a sitter, a paintbox, a palette. Bazille’s studio is not exactly how I later imagined Sonja and Amy’s—oh, but look at that hot, hot stove! Coal supplied by Count Witkiewicz! And now that I look at the picture again, I see it as one of Jeanette’s empty rooms as a portrait.

For a very similar painting, see Gustave Caillebotte’s Interior of a Studio with Stove.

Nearby on the rue de Furstenburg was the last studio of Eugène Delacroix, whose work inspired Bazille to study art. It is now a museum, which my husband and I visited when I was researching Where the Light Falls. Because Delacroix was immensely successful, his studio was much bigger and better outfitted than those occupied by students and young artists; but it was not luxurious nor tricked out to impress potential buyers. For me, going there was helpful: I could feel the space created by the high ceilings and see desirable light and equipment.
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