With similar upper-class upbringings and a common interest in the arts—especially a shared passion for music—Frédéric Bazille and Edmond Maître became fast friends after meeting in Paris in 1865.
Dissatisfied with a frontal, bust-length portrait he had made of Maître as part of a larger composition two years earlier, Bazille adopted a different approach for this more intimate depiction of his friend as a quintessential dilettante. Seen in full profile, with his body turned at an angle relative to the placement of the chair, Maître has just a hint of a slouch as he peers down at the book resting open in his lap. Absorbed in his reading, he is careless of the cigar slowly burning to ash in his right hand. Elegantly but somewhat unconventionally attired, Maître’s warm brown trousers and dark blue, dotted, silk tie counterbalance the severity of his black jacket. A sprig of violets tucked into his lapel adds a note of color to the otherwise somber composition. -- NGA
Louis Edmond Maître, né à Bordeaux le 23 avril 1840, et mort à Paris 6e le 29 mai 1898, est un musicien et un collectionneur d'art et un mécène français.
(Louis Edmond Maître, born in Bordeaux on April 23, 1840, and died in Paris - 6th Arrondissement - on May 29, 1898, is a French musician, art collector and patron.)