Henri Lebasque was born in Champigné, France, and studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and in the studio of academic painter Léon Bonnat.
He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon, but also maintained intense relationships with younger painters, especially Vuillard and Bonnard.
In 1903, Lebasque, along with Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet, founded the "Salon d'Automne" in reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon. This venue soon became the showplace for developments and innovations in 20th century painting and sculpture. In 1905 for example, it saw the birth of the Fauvist movement when critical reaction disparaging the boldly colored canvases of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Albert Marquet, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen, Charles Camoin, gave rise to the label "fauves" (wild beasts) for these artists.
In 1924, Henri Lebasque moved to Le Cannet on the French Riviera, where he and his friend Bonnard shared a manikin for their studies. Henri Lebasque was called "the painter of joy and light," by both critics and artists. He was admired for the intimacy of his themes and the unique joy in his colors and forms. Lebasque died there in 1937.