Bazin, Germain [René Michel]

Date born: 1901

Place born: Suresnes (Dép. Hauts-de-Seine), France

Date died: 1990

Place died: Paris, France

Curator of paintings at the Louvre Museum, 1951-1965; historian of 19th century French art. Bazin was the son of Charles Bazin and Jeanne Laurence Mounier-Pouthot (Bazin). He studied art history at the Sorbonne with both Henri Focillon (q.v.) and Émile Mâle (q.v.), where he reached the baccalaureate and licentiate levels. After completing his studies at the Sorbonne, Bazin received a diploma in museology from the École du Louvre. In 1928, he joined the department of drawings at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. His work at the École lead to a 1937 appointment as curator of department of paintings and drawings, Musée du Louvre, later adding an appointment as professor at the Free University of Brussels in 1934. He served in the French infantry from 1939-1940 during World War II, rising to captain, and after leaving the military, helped to protect French artwork during the Nazi Occupation of France. He was appointed professor of museum studies at École du Louvre in 1941. When he returned to his work at the Louvre, Bazin was appointed director of paintings and drawings. He published several books on a wide range of artists and time periods, including works on Hans Memling (1939), Fra Angelico (1941), and Camille Corot (1942). He married Suzanne Comtesse Heller Bielotzerkowka in 1947. Bazin became curator in chief at the Louvre in 1951 and began rearranging the paintings to reflect the museumís vast collection of works from around the world. In 1953, he published LíHistoire de líart de la prehistoire à nos jours, one of several major books and catalogues that he wrote or edited in the 1950ís. While he worked at the Louvre, Bazin led a project to restore and re-frame the Impressionist paintings in the Musée Jeu de Paume, which was completed in 1958. In addition to producing scholarly writings, Bazin lectured on his research in Europe and America. His varied writings included art historiography and museology. He received numerous awards and honors for his work as a scholar and curator, including the Officer of the Legion of Honor (1954), Commander of the Belgian Order of Leopold (1956), and membership in the Institut de France. He retired as professor of museum studies in 1970. When he died at the age of 88, Bazin was writing a catalogue raisonné of Theodore Géricaultís work, which was completed posthumously in 1997. LMW

Home Country: France

Sources: Current Biography 1959; Obituary, NY Times, May 5, 1990; Obituary, The Daily Telegraph May 10, 1990.

Bibliography: Histoire de l'avante-garde en peinture de XIIIe au XXe siècle. Paris: Hathette, 1969. English: The Avant-garde in Painting. Translated by Simon Watson Taylor. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969; The Baroque: Principles, Styles, Modes, Themes. Translation by Pat Wardroper. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1968; Corot. Paris: Hachette, 1973; L'époque impressionniste : avec notices biographiques et bibliographiques. Paris: P. Tisné, 1947; Histoire de l'histoire de l'art : de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: A. Michel, 1986; History of Classic Painting. Translated from the French by Rosamund Frost. New York: Hyperion Press, 1951; The Loom of Art. Translated by Jonathan Griffin. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962; Le Mont-Saint-Michel. Preface by Marcel Aubert. Paris: Auguste Picard, 1933; The Museum Age. Translated by Jane van Nuis Cahill. New York: Universe Books 1967; Théodore Géricault : étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné. Paris: La Bibliothèque des arts, 1987-1997; La France en guerre. Preface by André Siegfried. Paris: Plon, 1940.