Édouard Manet, born on January 23, 1832 in Paris and died on April 30, 1883 in the same city, was a major French painter and engraver of the late nineteenth century. A precursor of modern painting, which he freed from academicism, Édouard Manet is wrongly considered to be one of the fathers of Impressionism: he differs from it by a style that is concerned with reality and makes little or no use of the new techniques of color and the particular treatment of light. However, he was close to it by certain recurrent themes such as portraits, seascapes, Parisian life or still lifes, while painting in a personal way, in a first period, genre scenes: Spanish subjects in particular after Velasquez and odalisques after Titian.
He refused to study law and failed to become a naval officer. In 1850, the young Manet entered the studio of the painter Thomas Couture where he trained as a painter, leaving in 1856. In 1860, he presented his first paintings, including the Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Auguste Manet.
His next paintings, Lola de Valence, La Femme veuve, Combat de taureau, Le Déjeuner sur l”herbe or Olympia, caused a scandal. Manet was rejected from official exhibitions, and played a leading role in the “bohemian elegance”. There he met artists who admired him such as Henri Fantin-Latour or Edgar Degas and men of letters such as the poet Charles Baudelaire or the novelist Émile Zola, whose portrait he painted: Portrait of Émile Zola. Zola actively defended the painter at a time when the press and critics were railing against Olympia. At this time, he painted The Fife Player (1866), the historical subject of The Execution of Maximilian (1867) inspired by Francisco de Goya”s engraving.
His work includes seascapes such as Clair de lune sur le port de Boulogne (1869) or races: Les Courses à Longchamp in 1864 which earned the painter the beginning of recognition.
After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, in which he participated, Manet supported the Impressionists, among whom he had close friends such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Berthe Morisot, who became his sister-in-law and whose famous portrait, Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (1872), was noted. In contact with them, he abandoned studio painting in part for plein air painting in Argenteuil and Gennevilliers, where he owned a house. His palette became clearer, as shown in Argenteuil in 1874. However, he kept his personal approach of careful composition and concern for reality, and continued to paint many subjects, in particular places of leisure such as Au Café (1878), La Serveuse de Bocks (1879) and his last large canvas, Un bar aux Folies Bergère (1881-1882), but also the world of the humble with Paveurs de la Rue Mosnier or self-portraits (Autoportrait à la palette, 1879).
Manet succeeded in giving letters of nobility to still lifes, a genre that until then had occupied a decorative, secondary place in painting. Towards the end of his life (1880-1883), he devoted himself to representing flowers, fruits and vegetables by applying dissonant color chords to them, at a time when pure color was dying out, which André Malraux was one of the first to emphasize in Les Voix du silence. The most representative of this evolution is The Asparagus, which shows his ability to go beyond all conventions. Manet also multiplied his portraits of women (Nana, La Blonde aux seins nus, Berthe Morisot) or men who were part of his entourage (Stéphane Mallarmé, Théodore Duret, Georges Clemenceau, Marcellin Desboutin, Émile Zola, Henri Rochefort). From the 1880s, he is increasingly recognized. He received the Legion of Honor on January 1, 1882. However, victim of syphilis and rheumatism, he suffers, since 1876, of his left leg, which it will be finally necessary to amputate.
In 1883, Édouard Manet died at the age of 51 of syphilis and gangrene he contracted in Rio de Janeiro and left more than four hundred paintings, pastels, sketches and watercolors. His greatest works can be seen in most of the world”s museums, especially in the Musée d”Orsay in Paris.
Neither impressionist nor realist, Manet addresses unanswered questions to art critics:
“Is he the last of the great classical painters or the first of the revolutionaries? Was he the enfant terrible of the great persistent art, the slightly mischievous pupil of the masters, the restorer of the true tradition beyond that taught at the School of Fine Arts? – or the great precursor, the initiator of pure painting? Obviously, all this at the same time, (answers Françoise Cachin), and in proportions of which only the alternations of the taste are judges.
Édouard Manet was born on January 23, 1832 at 5 rue des Petits-Augustins, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, into a Parisian bourgeois family. His father, Auguste Manet (August 31, 1796-September 25, 1862), was a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Justice. According to his biographers, he was either the chief of staff of the Minister of Justice or the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice. Édouard”s mother, Eugénie Désirée Manet (née Fournier) (February 11, 1811-January 8, 1885), was the daughter of a diplomat posted to Stockholm and the goddaughter of Marshal Bernadotte.
Although raised in an austere family, the young Édouard quickly discovered the world of art thanks to the influence of a rather eccentric monarchist uncle (the child witnessed his political discussions with his father, a fervent republican), Captain Édouard Fournier, who introduced his nephews Édouard and Eugène, his brother, to the great masters in the galleries of the Louvre Museum, taking them on a tour of the Spanish Gallery.
At the age of twelve, Édouard Manet was sent to the Collège Rollin, today”s Collège-lycée Jacques-Decour, located at the time on rue des Postes (today”s rue Lhomond), in the Val-de-Grâce neighborhood where his family lived, not far from the Luxembourg Gardens. His history teacher was the young Henri Wallon, whose amendment would later become the cornerstone of the Third Republic. Manet”s schooling seems to have been disappointing: the young boy is regularly dissipated, not very diligent and sometimes shows insolence. His classmate Antonin Proust reported, for example, an altercation between the future rebellious painter and Wallon about a text by Diderot on fashion: the young man exclaimed that “one must be of one”s time, do what one sees without worrying about fashion.
Very little is known about Manet”s early childhood, which is summed up in a few pages, with reference to his family, which is well-to-do in all the biographies, from that of Théodore Duret to the most recent ones, which quickly evoke the family environment before moving on to adolescence and then to the painter himself: “The artist receives for four years 20,000 fr of annual rent on a landed property inherited at the death of his father in 1862; he does not need to earn a living at that time, although his mother seems to have taken measures to stop him on the ruinous slope in which he is engaged. “
In fact, much is unknown about Manet”s intimacy in general, as the artist went to great lengths to erect barriers to preserve it and propriety.
Studies and apprenticeship at the Sewing Workshop
Manet obtains decent results at the Rollin College, where he meets Antonin Proust, whose memories will be invaluable for the knowledge of the artist. During this period, Proust and Manet often went to the Louvre under the guidance of Manet”s maternal uncle, Captain Édouard Fournier, who encouraged his nephew”s talent. Manet left the Rollin College in 1848 and asked to enter the navy, but he failed the Borda competition. He then decided to work as a pilot on a training ship bound for Rio de Janeiro.
He embarked on December 9, 1848, in Le Havre on Le Havre and Guadeloupe, the voyage lasting until June 1849. Manet returned with a multitude of drawings; during the voyage he made portraits and drawings of the entire crew, as well as caricatures of his comrades and officers. He contracted syphilis in Rio. On his return to Le Havre, he failed the entrance exam to the Naval School for a second time; his family agreed that he should pursue an artistic career.
His boat trips later inspired him to paint seascapes with port scenes (Clair de lune sur le port de Boulogne, 1869 – Le Départ du vapeur de Folkestone, 1869) or historical subjects like Le Combat du Kearsarge et de l”Alabama (1865) or L”Évasion de Rochefort (1881)
After failing his second competitive examination to become a naval officer, Manet refused to enroll in the Beaux-Arts. He entered the studio of the painter Thomas Couture with Antonin Proust in 1850, where he stayed for about six years. He registered as a student of Couture on the register of copyists at the Louvre. He quickly lost confidence in his master, going against his teachings.
Thomas Couture was one of the emblematic figures of academic art in the second half of the nineteenth century, with a marked attraction to the ancient world that earned him immense success with his masterpiece The Romans of Decadence at the 1847 Salon. A student of Gros and Delaroche, Couture was then at the height of his fame; it was Manet himself who insisted that his parents enroll him in the master”s studio.
Manet devoted most of these six years to learning the basic techniques of painting and copying a few works by the great masters on display at the Louvre, including Tintoretto”s Self-Portrait, Jupiter and Antiope attributed to Titian, and Helen Fourment and her Children by Peter Paul Rubens. He also visited Delacroix, whom he asked for permission to copy Dante”s Boat, then on display at the Musée du Luxembourg. But it was above all his travels in Holland, Italy and Spain, where he visited museums, that completed his training and nourished his inspiration.
Manet completed his training with a series of trips throughout Europe: the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam keeps a record of his visit in July 1852. He visited Italy twice: in 1853, in the company of his brother Eugène and the future minister Émile Ollivier, the trip gave him the opportunity to copy Titian”s famous Venus of Urbino at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and in The Hague he copied Rembrandt”s Anatomy Lesson. Manet copied the masters there, bringing back a copy of the Venus of Urbino after Titian and Head of a Young Man by Fra Filippo Lippi made at the Uffizi Museum. That same year, 1853, he left for Rome. During his second trip to Italy, in 1857, Manet returned to the Medici city to sketch frescoes by Andrea del Sarto in the Annunziata cloister. In addition to the Netherlands and Italy, in 1853 the artist visited Germany and Central Europe, in particular the museums of Prague, Vienna, Munich and Dresden.
Manet”s independence of spirit and his insistence on choosing simple subjects baffled Couture, who nevertheless asked his pupil for his opinion on one of his own paintings: Portrait of Miss Poinsot. Manet was inspired by Couture”s portraits: paintings with illuminated faces, energetic painting in which elements of modern life were already apparent (black suits, fashion accessories). In 1859, Manet had just finished The Absinthe Drinker, which Couture did not understand; the two men fell out. From his first days in the studio, Manet said: “I don”t know why I”m here; when I arrive at the studio, it seems to me that I”m entering a tomb. In reality, Manet did not like Couture”s teaching. Antonin Proust, who had been his studio mate, recalls in his memoirs: “Manet invariably had problems on Mondays, the day on which poses were given for the whole week, with the teacher”s models, who took on outrageous attitudes – “So you can”t be natural,” Manet cried. Manet left the Couture studio in 1856 to move into his own studio on Rue Lavoisier with his friend Albert de Balleroy.
It was in this studio that he painted, in 1859, the portrait entitled The Cherry Child. The child was then 15 years old when Manet hired him to wash his brushes. He was found hanged in Manet”s studio, where he had been reprimanded and threatened to be sent back to his parents. The painter, impressed by this suicide, moved in 1860 to another place in Rue de la Victoire where he did not stay, then he moved again to Rue de Douai. That year, he met Baudelaire. The dramatic episode of L”Enfant aux cerises later inspired Charles Baudelaire to write a poem: La Corde, which he dedicated to Édouard Manet.
Manet did not choose Couture”s studio by chance. In 1850, he had given himself the means to enter his career through the front door. Couture was then an important figure, prized by art lovers, supported by the public authorities, he had achieved very high prices since the end of 1840. Couture”s “lesson” is much more important than one would have liked to admit. The long apprenticeship of six years was of great significance. “The painter of manners and the political painter with controlled realism, retained him as much as Couture”s taste for the figures of the commedia dell”arte and the bohemian picturesque.” Stéphane Guégan notes that Couture”s first great success at the 1844 Salon L”Amour de l”or (Musée des Augustins, Toulouse) is based on the left side of The Judgment of Paris by Marcantonio Raimondi, while Manet”s Le déjeuner sur l”herbe, appropriates the right side of the same work by Raimondi. And clearly Couture was one of the paths that led to the Old Musician.
Manet was a great admirer of Achille Devéria. When he visited the Musée du Luxembourg with Auguste Raffet and Devéria, he exclaimed, upon seeing The Birth of Henry IV by Devéria: “It”s all very beautiful, but there is a masterpiece in the Luxembourg: Dante”s Boat. If we went to see Delacroix, we would take as a pretext for our visit to ask him for permission to make a copy of his Barque.”
Henry Murger claimed that Delacroix was cold. On leaving his studio Manet said to Proust “It is not Delacroix who is cold: it is his doctrine that is icy. In spite of everything, let”s copy the Barque. It is a piece.” Dante”s Boat after Delacroix is the only one done by Manet during an artist”s lifetime. It is kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. A second copy, slightly different in size, is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, freer and more colorful. It remained in Manet”s studio at his death.
It was preceded by Scène d”atelier espagnol, many elements of which were taken from Les Petits cavaliers espagnols by Velazquez, copied by Manet and later engraved as Les Petits cavaliers (etching), etching and drypoint 1862, a version of which is preserved in the Goya Museum in Castres. The Hispanic period began almost as soon as the painter started. Not all of his works from this period have been found, except for his first Spanish Cavaliers, 45 × 26 cm, which is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon.
The Old Musician stands out as the most monumental and complex of Manet”s early works. Successive analyses have made it possible to decipher the composite sources that form the visual framework of the work. A succession of pictorial references can be found in the gathering of gypsies: a miserable figure borrowed from Henri Guillaume Schlesinger, references to Le Nain, Watteau: Manet draws without limits to invent his realism.
The first two paintings with a Spanish theme, Young Man in Majo costume and Miss V. in espada costume, which were presented at the Salon des Refusés of 1863 with Le Déjeuner sur l”herbe, baffled the critics and provoked strong attacks despite the support of Émile Zola, who saw in them “a work of rare vigor and extreme power of tone (…) In my opinion, the painter was more of a colorist in them than he was accustomed to be. The stains are bold and energetic and they are removed from the background with all the abruptness of nature.”
The Young Man in a Majo Suit is Manet”s younger brother, Gustave. Mlle V. en costume d”espada, is a portrait of Manet”s favorite model, Victorine Meurent in male disguise, in the same year that the young girl began posing for the painter. In this painting, Victorine is supposed to be participating as an espada in a bullfight. Everything is done, however, to show that the painting is an artificial construction: Victorine, because of the threat represented by the bull, should not normally stare at the viewer with such insistence. The whole scene is simply a pretext to represent the model in male clothes. This is conceived as a provocation by Émile Zola during his exhibition with Jeune Homme en costume de majo, and Le Déjeuner sur l”herbe
“The three paintings by Monsieur Manet look a bit like a provocation to the public who take offense at the overly bright colors. In the middle, a Bath scene, on the left, a Spanish Majo,; on the right a Parisian lady in espada costume waving her purple coat in the circus of a bull fight. M. Manet adores Spain, and his master of affection seems to be Goya, whose lively and striking tones he imitates, whose free and fiery touch. There are astonishing fabrics in these two Spanish figures: the black suit of the majo and the heavy scarlet burnous he wears on his arm, the pink silk stockings of the young Parisian girl disguised as an espada; but under these brilliant costumes, the person himself is somewhat lacking, the heads should be painted differently from the draperies, with more accent and depth.”
Charles F. Suckey notes that “the contradictions of the painting and the absurd details, characteristic of many paintings, draw attention to the fact that art is above all an assemblage of models and costumes. Miss Victorine Meurant in espada costume is an example: a female model posing as a bullfighter is ridiculous in terms of realism.”
But Mlle. Meurent is not the only woman in drag in male costume. In the same year, Manet painted a Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume, (New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery) whose slightly thick model is thought to be Nadar”s mistress, or Baudelaire”s, but whose exact identity is unknown. She is also dressed in a man”s Spanish costume, which corresponds to the erotic codes of the time when male costume was in constant use in gallantry. Félix Bracquemond engraved an etching of her in 1863, reversing the subject. Manet also produced a watercolor of the same painting.
Manet did not visit Spain until 1865, and he may only have become familiar with the customs of Madrid and the details of bullfighting through Théophile Gautier”s Voyage en Espagne, or the details of bullfighting given by Prosper Mérimée. He also had a collection of costumes in his studio that he used as props and that were supplied to him by a Spanish merchant in the Passage Jouffroy. As Beatrice Farwell notes, Miss V”s costume can be found in other paintings by Manet: the Spanish Singer and the Young Man in a Majo costume.
Manet”s Hispanic period does not end with figures in Spanish costume. Traces of inspiration from either Goya or Velázquez (depending on the critic) can be found in the Portrait of Theodore Duret. He met Duret in Madrid in 1865, in a restaurant. “The Hispanicism of this painting is obvious and evokes Goya more than Velázquez. It was in Charles Blanc”s book that he found a possible inspiration with the reproduction of The Young Man in Grey after Goya, which has the reverse position and even the cane. Manet obviously made a deliberate allusion to remind Théodore Duret of the painting they saw together in Madrid. Georges Mauner even sees an allusion to Manuel la Peña, Marquis of Bondad, painted by Goya in 1799.
After a few years spent copying great paintings, it was at the 1859 Salon that Manet decided to officially unveil his first work, entitled The Absinthe Drinker. The canvas, of realistic workmanship, shows the influence of Gustave Courbet, but is above all a tribute to Diego Velázquez, whom Manet had always considered “the painter of painters”: “I have,” he said, “tried to make a type of Paris by putting into the execution the naivety of the craft that I found in Velázquez.
However, The Absinthe Drinker, so unacademic, was refused at the 1859 Salon. The jury did not understand this work, which in a way illustrates Baudelaire”s Vin des chiffonniers “drinking and banging against the wall like a poet.” Similarly, Thomas Couture considers that the only absinthe drinker here is the painter. Manet learns of this refusal in the presence of Baudelaire, Delacroix and Antonin Proust, believing that it is Thomas Couture who is responsible for it “Ah! he made me refuse! The young artist had several notable supporters, notably Eugène Delacroix, who defended him before the jury, and above all Charles Baudelaire, who had just made his acquaintance and was working to make him known in Parisian society.
Manet, at this time, was fascinated by Spanish art and first of all by Velázquez, whom he associated with realism, as opposed to the Italianate art of the Academics. Long before his first trip to Spain in 1865, Manet devoted several paintings to what he himself called “Spanish subjects”: the dancer Lola de Valencia, and the guitarero from The Spanish Singer.
The Spanish Singer earned him his first success. He was accepted at the Paris Salon in 1861 with the portrait of his parents. The critics Jean Laran and Georges Le Bas report that it was admired by Eugène Delacroix and Ingres and that it was undoubtedly thanks to Delacroix”s intervention that the painting received an “honorable” mention. Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier also liked it and declared in Le Moniteur universel of July 3, 1861: “There is a lot of talent in this figure of natural size painted in full paste, with a valiant brush and a very true color.
The various influences for this painting have been the subject of much discussion. According to Antonin Proust, Manet himself said, “In painting this figure, I was thinking of the Madrid masters, and also of Hals.” Art historians have also mentioned the influence of Goya (especially the etching: The Blind Singer), Murillo, Diego Velázquez as well as that of Gustave Courbet in his realistic tendency.
The painting was also admired by a group of young artists: Alphonse Legros, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edgar Degas and others. This meeting with the young painters was decisive, as it designated Manet as the leader of the avant-garde.
One of Manet”s best-known paintings dealing with bullfighting is his Dead Man, dated 1864. Originally, the work was only part of a larger composition intended for the Salon of the same year, and entitled Episode of a Bullfight: the painter, unhappy with the harsh criticism of Théophile Thoré-Burger and the caricatures that Bertall had made of it in “Le Journal amusant”, cut the Episode into two parts that would form two autonomous canvases: Dead Man and The Bullfight, which is kept in the Frick Collection in New York.
Manet cut out La Corrida in such a way as to keep three bullfighters on the fence (the first title chosen for this work was Toreros in Action), but if he wanted to keep the men on their feet, he would have to cut out almost the entire bull. Instead, the artist decided to cut off the feet of the bullfighter on the left and trim the crowd in the stands.
When Manet painted Episode of a Bull Run, he had never been to Spain. It was after this trip that he expressed his admiration for bullfighting in a letter to Baudelaire on September 14, 1865: “One of the most beautiful, curious, and terrible spectacles that one can see is a bullfight. I hope, on my return, to put on canvas the brilliant, fluttering and at the same time dramatic aspect of the bullfight I attended.” It is on this same theme that he produced several large formats: The Matador Saluting that Louisine Havemeyer bought from Théodore Duret, now preserved in the Musée d”Orsay in Paris. Étienne Moreau-Nélaton and Adolphe Tabarant agree that Manet”s brother Eugène served as a model for the character of the matador saluting, and that it is indeed a bullfighter applauded by the crowd after the bull”s death.
Manet began the Bullfight on his return from his trip to Spain in 1865. In his studio in Paris, on rue Guyot (today rue Médéric), it is possible that he used both sketches made on the spot in Spain (sketches that have not been found except for one watercolor), but also engravings of La tauromaquia by Francisco de Goya that he owned. Manet had great admiration for the Spanish painter, who influenced him on subjects other than bullfighting, notably for The Execution of Maximilian.
Manet, in contrast to the art of Saint Sulpician, follows in the footsteps of Italian masters such as Fra Angelico, or Hispanic masters such as Zurbaran, to treat the bodies with realism in his religious paintings, whether it is the supplicated body seated at the edge of the tomb of Christ supported by angels (1864, New York, Metropopolitan Museum of Art) taking up the classic composition of Christian iconography of Christ with wounds like that of the dead Christ supported by two angels or a “man of flesh and bone, skin and beard, and not a pure and holy spirit in a robe of bure” in A Monk at Prayer (circa 1864). He also exhibited a Jesus insulted by soldiers at the 1865 Salon.
These works earned him the ridicule of Gustave Courbet and Théophile Gautier, but they were hailed by Émile Zola: “I find here Edouard Manet in his entirety, with the bias of his eye and the audacity of his hand. It has been said that this Christ is not a Christ, and I admit that it can be; for me, it is a corpse painted in full light, with frankness and vigor; and I even like the angels in the background, these children with large blue wings who have such a sweet and elegant strangeness.
This period of Édouard Manet (around 1864-1865), rejected by critics because it did not conform to the image of a secular and rebellious Manet, has been highlighted in a room of the Musée d”Orsay exhibition (April 5-July 17, 2011). “The religious component of Manet”s art revolted his enemies as much as it embarrassed his friends.” In 1884, at the posthumous exhibition at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in homage to Manet, the first of the moderns, Antonin Proust dismissed the two great Christs Jesus Insulted and Dead Christ. The former minister Gambetta made an exception for A Monk at Prayer, because of its less marked confessional ostentation. “The image of a resolutely secular Manet, as rebellious to aesthetic clichés as to the superstitions of the church, was then transmitted to the history of art, guardian of the temple, particularly in its modern aspect. Could we admit in the 20th century that the painter of Olympia had dabbled in the Bible in the mid-1860s, while Pius IX, one of the most repressive popes in the history of Christianity, was in Rome? Such a position, between comfortable amnesia and voluntary blindness, superbly ignores the complexity of a painter foreign to our cleavages, aesthetic, as ideological. Manet, like Baudelaire, nevertheless showed an attachment, albeit unorthodox, to the God of Scripture. He had already grouped his great religious paintings in a special exhibition in 1867 at the Place de l”Alma. A selection which meant his refusal of the “speciality,” plague of which Gautier and Baudelaire did not cease denouncing the ravages.
Manet”s religious paintings during his Hispanic period were much more related to Italian culture. From his stays in 1853 and 1857, Manet brought back copies of Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Benozzo Gozzoli, Fra Angelico in the first place. His numerous sanguines for the Monk and Christ the Gardener and the engravings for Christ with Angels and Jesus Insulted are the most striking evidence of this. More precisely, the Italian inspiration can be found from the very beginning of the painter: The Monk in Profile, 1853-1857, sanguine on laid paper, 34.2 × 22 cm, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Kneeling Saint Bernard Holding a Book, after Fra Angelico”s The Crucifixion, Florence, Convent of San Marco, 1857, black pencil and graphite 28, 8 × 21.2 cm, Musée d”Orsay Paris, Two Kneeling Clergymen Saint John Galbert and Saint Peter Martyr after The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico, Florence, Convent of San Marco, 1857, black pencil and graphite 28.8 × 21.2 cm Musée d”Orsay
Music in the Tuileries
Édouard Manet, according to Antonin Proust”s description of him, was a self-confident, friendly and sociable young man. This is why the period of his first successes is also the one of his remarkable entry into the intellectual and aristocratic circles of Paris.
“He formed a small court around Manet. He went almost every day to the Tuileries from two to four o”clock. (…) Baudelaire was his usual companion. Proust”s description gives a fairly accurate idea of Manet, who was indeed one of the dandies in top hats in his painting, regulars in his studio, in the Tuileries and in the Tortoni café in Paris, an elegant café on the boulevard, where he took his lunch before going to the Tuileries. “And when he came back to Tortoni”s from five to six o”clock, it was to who complimented him on his studies that were passed from hand to hand.
With Music in the Tuileries (1862) Manet paints a picture of the elegant world in which he lived. The painting depicts a concert given in the Tuileries garden in which the painter represents people close to him.
One can distinguish, from left to right, a first group of male characters among whom his former studio mate Albert de Balleroy, Zacharie Astruc (seated), Charles Baudelaire standing, and behind Baudelaire, on the left: Fantin-Latour. Among the men, Manet placed his brother Eugène Manet, Théophile Gautier, Champfleury, Baron Taylor, Aurélien Scholl. The first lady dressed in white from the left is Mme Lejosne, wife of Major Hippolyte Lejosne, where Manet met Baudelaire. Those who frequented Lejosne were all friends of Manet. Next to Mme Lejosne is Mme Offenbach.
The painter has represented himself as the bearded character on the left side of the composition. To his right, seated against the trunk, one recognizes “the one whom Manet called the Mozart of the Champs Élysées: Gioachino Rossini.”
The painting was judged severely by Baudelaire, who did not mention it in 1863, and it was strongly attacked by Paul de Saint-Victor: “His concert in the Tuileries scratches the eyes as the music of the fairs makes the ear bleed.” Hippolyte Babou speaks of Manet”s “mania for seeing by spots (…) the Baudelaire spot, the Gautier spot, the Manet spot.”
Music in the Tuileries is in fact the first model for all Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings that depict contemporary outdoor life. It inspired in the following decades: Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, and Auguste Renoir. His posterity will be immense. However, at that time, Manet was not yet the plein air painter he would later become. The image of the elegant society of the Second Empire that he grouped under the trees is certainly a studio work. The figures, which are true portraits, were perhaps painted from photographs.
More than ten years later, in the spring of 1873, Manet produced a painting similar to that of Music in the Tuileries, entitled Masked Ball at the Opera and featuring several of his acquaintances. The opera house in question, located on rue Le Peletier in the 9th arrondissement, was burned to the ground the same year. Another Parisian social gathering of the time, the Longchamp horse races, inspired the painter to paint a picture: Les Courses à Longchamp.
In 1863, for the first time in the history of the official annual Paris Salon, rejected artists were allowed to exhibit their works in a small room attached to the main exhibition, where visitors could discover them: this was the famous Salon des refusés. Édouard Manet, by exhibiting three controversial works, established himself as a figure of the avant-garde.
The Bath, or Lunch on the Grass (1862, Salon des Refusés of 1863)
Antonin Proust reports that the idea for the painting came to the painter in Gennevilliers: “Some women were bathing, and Manet had his eye fixed on the flesh of those emerging from the water: – It seems that I must do a nude. Well, I”m going to do one for them in the transparency of the atmosphere, with the people we see there. They will scourge me. They will say what they want. Manet was not satisfied with the figure of the man in the morning coat in Music in the Tuileries. He wanted to place this man in a mythological, rural setting, next to a nude that he wanted to be clear; the air “transparent”; the nude itself would be a woman.
Among the three paintings exhibited at the Salon, the central composition of The Luncheon on the Grass aroused the strongest reactions. In this work, Manet confirmed his break with classicism and academicism that he had begun with Music in the Tuileries. The controversy stems not so much from the style of the painting as from its subject: if the female nude was already widespread and appreciated, provided it was treated in a modest and ethereal manner, it was even more shocking to have two fully clothed men in the same composition. Such a staging excludes the possibility of a mythological interpretation and gives the painting a strong sexual connotation. The critic Ernest Chesneau, summing up this unease, said he could not “find it a perfectly chaste work to have a girl sitting in the woods, surrounded by students in berets and overcoats, dressed only in the shade of leaves, denouncing “a bias of inconceivable vulgarity. “I must say that the grotesque side of his exhibition is due to two causes: first to an almost childish ignorance of the first elements of the drawing, then to a bias of inconceivable vulgarity”,. The Luncheon on the Grass is, however, only inspired by a work of Raphael representing two nymphs, and Titian”s Country Concert, the only difference with these two paintings being the clothes of the two men. Manet, in this way, relativizes and ridicules the tastes and prohibitions of his time.
The Luncheon on the Grass caused a scandal, provoking sarcasm from some and cries of admiration from others, giving rise to passionate polemics everywhere. Manet had entered into the full struggle.
Soon Olympia (1865) will further accentuate the tone of these controversies. The caricaturists, of whom Manet was the head of turkey, had a field day.
Olympia, or the entry into modernity (1863, exhibited at the official Salon of 1865)
Although Manet ultimately decided not to exhibit it at the Salon des Refusés and not to unveil it until two years later, it was in 1863 that Olympia was painted. The work, which was to provoke even more controversy than The Luncheon on the Grass, depicts a prostitute who looks like she has just come out of an Oriental harem and is visibly preparing to receive a client who announces himself with a bouquet. Art critics have seen in this painting references to several painters: Titian and his Venus of Urbino, 1538, Florence, Uffizi Museum, Goya and his Maja nude, 1802, Madrid Prado Museum, Jalabert in the 1840s and his Odalisque 1842, Carcassonne Museum, Benouville and his Odalisque, 1844, Pau Museum. “It has also been hypothesized that one of the reasons for the scandal caused by the exhibition of Manet”s Olympia was the possible analogy with the widely used pornographic photographs of naked, bold-looking prostitutes displaying their charms for the public. As an example, Françoise Cachin and the show a photograph Nude on a Sleeping Couch, Quinet Studio, ca. 1834, Cabinet des estampes, Paris
Unlike Le Déjeuner sur l”herbe, Olympia is therefore not so much shocking because of its theme as because of the way this theme is treated. Besides her nudity, the model Victorine Meurent displays an undeniable insolence and provocation. Paul de Saint-Victor wrote in La Presse on May 28, 1865: “The crowd is crowding in front of M. Manet”s Olympia faisandée, as if it were the Morgue. The art descended so low does not deserve that one blames it.
The general atmosphere of eroticism: “Olympia que font plus nue son ruban et autres menus accessoires”, is reinforced by the presence of the black cat with its tail raised, at the feet of the young girl. The animal was added by Manet, not without humor, to replace the innocent dog in the Venus of Urbino, and perhaps also to designate by metaphor what the girl is hiding precisely with her hand: “Has it been sufficiently highlighted, however, that what the maid transfers in the tribute of the bouquet – a sumptuous piece of painting with a workmanship so clear-cut compared to the rest of the canvas – is desire, desire for the only object refused to the gaze, Olympia”s sex. Other elements of the composition have long troubled critics: this is the case of the bouquet of flowers, a still life invited in an incongruous way in a nude painting, but also of the bracelet (which belonged to the painter”s mother) and of the coarseness of the perspective. It was this painting that so appealed to Émile Zola, who defended it in his writings throughout his life, notably in a column published in 1866 entitled Mon Salon.
Criticism and caricatures abound. They show that Manet shocked, surprised, and provoked laughter that was a sign of incomprehension and embarrassment. Among them, Cham”s caricature in Le Charivari, with its thick humor, depicts a reclining naked woman entitled Manet, the birth of the little cabinetmaker with the caption: “Manet took the thing too literally, that it was like a bouquet of flowers, the letters of notification in the name of the mother Michèle and her cat. Émile Zola testifies: “And everyone shouted: we found this naked body indecent; it had to be, since it is flesh, a girl that the artist threw on the canvas in its young and already faded nudity.” The criticisms and lazzes of which the painter is the victim overwhelm him quite strongly, and the support of his friend Charles Baudelaire helps him to pass this difficult stage in his life.
1867 was an eventful year for Manet: the painter took advantage of the Universal Exhibition held in Paris in the spring to organize his own retrospective exhibition and present some fifty of his paintings. Inspired by the example of Gustave Courbet, who had used the same method to turn away from the official Salon, Manet did not hesitate to draw heavily on his savings to build his exhibition pavilion, near the Pont de l”Alma, and to organize a veritable publicity campaign with the support of Émile Zola. The success, however, was not up to the artist”s expectations: both critics and the public shunned this cultural event.
Édouard Manet had reached artistic maturity, however, and for some twenty years he produced works of remarkable variety, ranging from portraits of his entourage (family, writer friends and artists) to seascapes and places of entertainment, as well as historical subjects. All of them will have a marked influence on the impressionist school and the history of painting.
Victorine Meurent and other female portraits
Victorine Louise Meurent, born in 1844, was 18 when Manet met her. According to Duret, he met her by chance in the crowd at the Palais de Justice and was struck by “her original appearance and her sharp manner. Tabarant situates the meeting near the engraving studio on rue Maître-Albert because we find the address of the young woman with her name misspelled in Manet”s address book “Louise Meuran, rue Maître-Albert, 17.” It is very possible that both versions are accurate and that Manet himself told the first to Théodore Duret. Victorine would be his model for a dozen years, while also posing for the painter Alfred Stevens who had a strong and lasting affection for her. She was in any case a professional model and was already posing in the Couture studio where she had enrolled in early 1862. The first painting she inspired in Manet was La Chanteuse de rue, also entitled La Femme aux cerises (Woman with cherries) around 1862. Amusing and talkative, she knew how to remain silent during the posing sessions, her milky red skin “catching the light well”. She had the outspokenness of the Parisian “titis”, whimsical manners, a certain talent for the guitar, and after a love affair with Stevens and an elopement to the United States, she began to paint herself. Her Self-Portrait was shown at the 1876 Salon.
The portrait of Victorine Meurent, as Manet captured it when he first met her, gives her the features of a woman, not of the young girl she was. Similarly, the whiteness of her reddish skin, which Manet later exploited in the paintings in which she appears naked, is not reflected in the portrait, nor in the painting The Street Singer. A little more in Mlle Victorine Meurent in espada costume painted the same year.
The striking beauty of this milky skin is a major factor in Manet”s treatment of the nude in Le Déjeuner sur l”herbe and Olympia. But, although covered with a garment, the full-length portrait of Victorine in The Street Singer caused at least as much of a scandal with its modernist composition as the other full-length portrait of Victorine Meurent: The Woman with a Parrot subsequently titled A Young Lady in 1866. In these last two paintings, Manet”s technical issues and innovations had taken on such importance that the critics were not interested in the subject at all. La Femme au perroquet was much attacked. Marius Chaumelin wrote “M. Manet, who should not have forgotten the panic caused, a few years ago, by his black cat in the painting of Ophelia (sic), has borrowed the parrot of his friend Courbet, and placed it on a perch beside a young woman in a pink bathrobe. These realists are capable of anything! The misfortune is that this parrot is not stuffed like the portraits of Mr. Cabanel and that the pink bathrobe is of a rather rich tone. The accessories even prevent one from looking at the figure. But nothing is lost.”
In 1873, Victorine Meurent was again posing for The Railway; the place where Manet painted this picture was by no means the Saint-Lazare station, but the garden of Alphonse Hirsch. This information comes from an article by Philippe Burty in the fall of 1872, following his studio visits. Unlike Monet, Manet was not attracted by the image of the new objects: the smoke, the locomotives, the station”s glass windows. Victorine wears “a blue coutil that was in fashion until the fall,” writes Philippe Burty. This is not the last painting by Manet with Victorine. She still poses in Alfred Stevens” garden for La Partie de croquet.
Édouard Manet was a great lover of female presences. Antonin Proust, who had known Manet since childhood, had the advantage of knowing his character intimately: according to him, even at the height of the painter”s illness, “the presence of a woman, any woman, restored him to health.” Manet painted many portraits of women and far from limiting himself to Suzanne Leenhoff and Victorine Meurent, the painter immortalized the features of many of his friends and relations.
For example, Fanny Claus, a friend of Manet and his wife Suzanne, the future wife of the painter Pierre Prins (Manet was a witness at their wedding) is the subject of the Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus (she is standing on the right) and is depicted seated in The Balcony. Other works include the Portrait of the Countess Albazzi, 1880, and the Portrait of Madame Michel-Lévy, 1882.
He depicts actresses such as Ellen Andrée in La Prune, where the actress poses complacently in a café setting, and seems frozen in a sweet and melancholic reverie, or Henriette Hauser, the famous Nana (1877). In the same vein as Olympia, Manet enjoys depicting the lives of courtesans or “creatures” in this painting, which dates from three years before the publication of Zola”s novel of the same name, without pretense but with more lightness. The title could have been given by Manet after the painting was completed, when he learned the title of Zola”s next work. Another explanation is that Manet was inspired by the novel L”Assommoir, in which a young Nana makes her first appearance and remains for hours in her shirt in front of the piece of glass hanging above the chest of drawers. The painting, as it should be, was refused at the Paris Salon of 1877.
His companion Suzanne Leenhoff
Suzanne Leenhoff, born in Zaltbommel in 1830, was the piano teacher of Édouard Manet and his brothers from 1849. She became Edouard”s mistress, and in 1852 she gave birth to a son whom she passed off to her friends as her younger brother, Léon Koëlla. The child, baptized in 1855, had as godmother his mother, Suzanne, and as godfather his father, Édouard, who was the regular guest of the Leenhoff family on rue de l”hôtel de ville in Batignolles. Suzanne often accompanied Manet and posed for him in a large number of paintings (La Pêche, La Nymphe surprise and others). In 1863, after the death of his father, Manet married Suzanne in Zaltbommel. Baudelaire wrote to Etienne Carjat in 1863 that “she was very beautiful, very good, and a great musician.
The corpulent figure of Suzanne appears many times in Manet”s work. In 1860-61, in a sanguine: Après le bain 28 × 20 cm, Art Institute of Chicago, and in several nude engravings. and in other nudes including La Nymphe surprise Suzanne still appears in several portraits including La Lecture (Manet), where Madame Manet is in the company of her son Léon. This painting was identified after Manet”s death as Portrait de Madame Manet et de Monsieur Léon Koella. Suzanne is also the model for Madame Manet at the piano, The Departure of the steamer from Folkestone, The Reading, The Swallows 1873 which depicts her on the beach at Berck sitting next to her mother-in-law, Madame Manet on a sofa, pastel, 1874, Madame Édouard Manet in the greenhouse Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo
Declared at birth by Suzanne Leenhoff as Léon-Édouard Koëlla, the debate surrounding the paternity of Léon Koëlla-Leenhoff allows for vague and unproven claims. In particular, those who claim that the child was born of a relationship between Suzanne and Manet”s father. This doubt is maintained by some critics: “Is he the son of Édouard Manet or his half-brother? The debate remains open. Françoise Cachin does not advance. She reminds us that we know very little about Manet”s intimacy, including his relationships with his friends, and that the correspondence does not add anything essential to this knowledge of Manet”s intimacy. Sophie Monneret indicates precisely: “Léon, (Paris 1852-Bizy 1927). The natural son of Suzanne Leenhoff and most probably of Édouard Manet, who married her twelve years after the child”s birth, Léon Koëlla was declared at the registry office as being born of the young woman and a certain Koëlla, of whom no trace is found anywhere; baptized in 1855, the child had Édouard as godfather and Suzanne as godmother, who presented the child as her younger brother. It was only after Suzanne”s death that Léon referred to her as his mother and no longer as his sister”; Léon was pampered and spoiled by Édouard, by his mother Suzanne, and by Madame Manet mother who lived with her son and daughter-in-law after their marriage. Léon was often used as a model by the painter and in an engraving, probably executed after the painting of the Cavaliers.
It is possible to follow Léon”s gradual evolution through Manet”s portraits of him, from childhood to adolescence. He is still a very young child posing, disguised as a Spanish page, in The Child with a Sword, but also in the detail of a painting from Manet”s earliest days, Spanish Cavaliers, Detail of Léon Leenhoff, 1859, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon; at the time when the painter was accumulating Spanish subjects. The resemblance of the child in the Cavaliers to the child in The Child with the Sword suggests that Léon was seven or eight years old at the time. We find him in a watercolor, and in an engraving from the same painting. Later, in Les Bulles de savon, Léon, aged fifteen, is having fun blowing bubbles in a bowl of soap. Léon is depicted as a dreamy adolescent in Déjeuner dans l”atelier, painted in the family apartment in Boulogne-sur-Mer, where the Manets spent the summer. Léon as a teenager appears again in Young Boy Peeling a Pear, 1868, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Léon and Madame Manet are the subjects of a painting Interior at Arcachon that borrows heavily from Degas” style. Léon is leaning across from his mother, who is gazing at the sea through the open window. This 1871 painting was done by Manet at the end of the siege of Paris, when the painter left to join his family in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, where he painted several views of the harbor.1873 Léon, as a young adult, appears in La Partie de croquet 1873.
The painting Le Déjeuner dans l”atelier, 1868, is characteristic of the image of Léon Leenhoff as an adolescent, seven years after L”Enfant à l”épée. Adolphe Tabarant finds it “enigmatic,” and suggests that Manet may have made a sketch of the young man before placing him in the painting. But what is strange is not the dreamy look in the teenager”s eyes, which Manet captures in other paintings, it is the composition where the characters seem to ignore each other and seem to serve as a foil to Léon. “This is a key work in Manet”s evolution, the first true realist scene, inaugurating a series that led ten years later to The Bar (A Bar at the Folies Bergère), which is not without analogy to The Lunch.”
His sister-in-law Berthe Morisot
Edma Morisot, Berthe Morisot”s sister, had known Henri Fantin-Latour and Félix Bracquemond since about 1860. Berthe met Manet later, in 1867, when Fantin-Latour introduced them to the Louvre, where Berthe was making a copy after Rubens. Manet was at first very ironic about Berthe”s painting. In a letter to Fantin-Latour, dated August 26, 1868, he wrote: “I agree with you, the Morisot girls are charming. However, as women, they could serve the cause of painting by marrying each one an academician and by putting discord in the camp of this dodderer. Thereafter, Berthe and Edouard will establish bonds of affection and mutual esteem. In the meantime, Berthe resented the posing sessions for The Balcony, as did the other models in the painting: Fanny Claus and the sculptor Pierre Prins. Berthe found Manet cumbersome. He had a habit of retouching the girl”s paintings himself.
In the early summer of 1870, about a year after The Balcony, “Manet embarked on a series of dazzling portraits of Berthe Morisot, including Le Repos, portrait de Berthe Morisot. He asked Berthe to pose for him while he was still doing the portrait of Eva Gonzalès in a white dress; Manet”s methods irritated Berthe.” She wrote to her sister on August 31, 1870 “he starts each portrait again for the twenty-fifth time: she poses every day, and in the evening her head is washed with black soap. This is encouraging to ask people to pose. Later, Berthe often lost her patience during the posing sessions with Manet, whom she found too fussy. In fact, when he later came to retouch Berthe”s own paintings, she waited until his back was turned to put her canvas back in its original state. Berthe wore a white dress when she posed for Le Repos, a portrait of Berthe Morisot, and she never stopped being impatient. She wrote to her sister, “Manet lectured me and offered me this eternal Mademoiselle Gonzalès as a model; she knows how to do things well, while I am not capable of anything. In the meantime, he starts his portrait for the twenty-fifth time. Berthe, who is in a period of doubt, is convinced that the man who was to be her brother-in-law despised her painting and preferred that of Eva Gonzalès, keeps a very bad memory of these sessions of pose for this portrait. The left leg folded under the dress, she was not allowed to move so as not to undo the arrangement of the painter.
Manet admired Berthe Morisot”s talent, however. He proved it to her ten years later when he gave her an easel as a New Year”s present, the most encouraging gift he could have given her.
Berthe Morisot became Manet”s sister-in-law in 1874 when she married his younger brother Eugène Manet. Berthe then became an essential figure in the Impressionist movement. She joined the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs, which Manet refused to join, and participated in the First and Second Impressionist Exhibitions, which he also refused to attend.
The Manet brothers
Édouard Manet is the elder of two brothers: Eugène Manet, born in 1833. He appears in Manet”s Music in the Tuileries, and is also the model for the man in the morning coat in The Luncheon on the Grass, and for a graphite drawing of the three main characters in The Luncheon on the Grass 1862-1863 (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum), which is not considered a preparatory study, but a drawing after the Luncheon. Eugène is one of the two main characters in the painting On the Beach where the young man is in the company of Suzanne Manet, shortly before his marriage to Berthe Morisot on the beach at Berck-sur-Mer. Moreau-Nélaton also claimed that Eugène posed for The Matador Saluting, which seems very possible given the subject”s resemblance to Eugène.
Gustave Manet was born in 1835 and was a city councilor in Paris.
It was probably through him that the painter was put in touch with Georges Clemenceau, whose portrait he painted. Little is known about Gustave who does not appear in any of his brother”s paintings.
Even as a young painter, Manet had already won Baudelaire”s friendship. The two men met as early as 1859 in the salon of the commandant Lejosne, a friend of the Manet family. Although Baudelaire never wrote publicly in support of his friend, including during the scandal of the Salon des Refusés in 1863, he held the young man”s talent in high regard from the presentation of The Absinthe Drinker. As he noted in 1865, shortly before his death, “there are faults, failings, a lack of poise, but there is an irresistible charm. I know all this, I am one of the first who understood it”.
Baudelaire”s friendship was particularly beneficial to Manet after the presentation of Olympia: the painter, dejected by the fierce criticism he had received, had written to Baudelaire, who was in Brussels in May 1865. Baudelaire replied in a way that gave him courage:
“So I have to tell you about yourself again. I have to show you what you are worth. It is really stupid what you demand. You are laughed at; you are annoyed by jokes; you do not know how to do justice, etc., etc. Do you think that you are the first man in this case? Do you have more genius than Chateaubriand and Wagner? They were well mocked, however? They did not die. And so as not to inspire you with too much pride, I will tell you that these men are models, each in his own genre, and in a very rich world, and that you, you are only the first in the decrepitude of your art. I hope that you will not resent the lack of respect with which I treat you. You know my friendship for you.
Baudelaire appears in the painting La Musique aux Tuileries, he is in the background, wearing a top hat. Manet made a profile portrait of him, engraving of 1862.
Baudelaire”s untimely death in 1867 was a severe blow to both Manet and his wife Suzanne, who lost both a protector and a friend. Manet”s painting The Burial, preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), painted in 1867, remained unfinished and was greatly inspired by Baudelaire”s funeral. Manet was present. There were only eleven people following the hearse, because it was a Sunday and many people had left Paris. The next day, there were a hundred people at the church and as many at the cemetery.
It was at this time that Édouard Manet received the support of a young author of twenty-six years, Émile Zola. The latter, outraged by the refusal to show The Fife Player at the official Salon of 1866, published a resounding article in L”Événement the same year, in which he defended the painting. The following year, Zola went so far as to devote a very thorough biographical and critical study to Édouard Manet, in order to allow for the “defense and illustration” of his painting, which he described as “solid and strong.
Manet was very grateful to his new friend; he painted the Portrait of Émile Zola in 1868, which was accepted at the Salon of the same year. The painting contains several anecdotal and discreet elements revealing the friendship of the two men: in addition to the reproduction of Olympia hanging on the wall, in which Victorine Meurent”s gaze has been slightly modified from the original in order to fix Zola, one can distinguish on the desk the sky-blue book that the writer had written to defend Manet. The agreement between the two men, however, did not last: increasingly perplexed by the impressionist evolution of Manet”s style, far from the realism he valued, Zola eventually broke off all contact.
Later in his life, Manet would find in a man of letters the deep and spiritual friendship he had felt for Baudelaire, in the person of Stéphane Mallarmé.” The relationship between Mallarmé and Manet dates back to at least 1873, the year the poet arrived in Paris. A letter from John Payne to Mallarmé, dated October 30, recalls a joint visit to the painter”s studio. They had met a few months earlier, either through Philippe Burty or through Nina de Callias, whose portrait Manet painted. Their relationship was so close and regular that Mallarmé wrote to Verlaine in his mini biography in 1947: “I have seen my dear Manet every day for ten years, whose absence today seems improbable to me. The two men meet daily. (…) In 1876 Manet chose a small canvas to paint his model in a relaxed attitude. The latter, younger by ten years, felt such admiration for Manet”s art that he published a glowing article about him in London in 1876. In this text, entitled Les Impressionnistes et Édouard Manet, Mallarmé defended his compatriot, and in particular the painting Le Linge, an unpretentious depiction of a young woman from Les Batignolles washing her clothes, a work that was refused at the Salon because it combined a trivial theme with an impressionist style. Manet then painted a Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé. The writer Georges Bataille was responsible for defining the wonderful success of this portrait of the poet. “In the history of art and literature, this painting is exceptional. It radiates from the friendship of two great minds; in the space of this canvas, there is no place for those many slumps that weigh down the human species. The light force of the flight, the subtlety which also dissociates the sentences and the forms, show here an authentic victory. The most airy spirituality, the fusion of the most remote possibilities, the ingenuities and scruples compose the most perfect image of the game that man is ultimately, his heaviness once overcome.” Paul Valéry associated what he called “the triumph of Manet” with the encounter with poetry, first in the person of Baudelaire, then of Mallarmé. This triumph, it seems, was completed in this painting, in the most intimate way.”
This closeness between the artist and the writer led Édouard Manet to create the illustrations that accompanied two of Mallarmé”s texts: Le Corbeau, a translation of Edgar Allan Poe”s poem in 1875, and L”Après-midi d”un faune in 1876.
Artistic friendships: the “Manet gang
As Manet grew older, a growing number of young artists claimed his spirit by opposing academism. Advocating plein air painting and calling themselves, in turn, Intransigents, Realists or Naturalists, critics finally, ironically, dubbed them “Impressionists”. Among these young talents, some would become close to Manet and form the so-called “Batignolles” group, so named in reference to the Batignolles district where Manet”s studio and the main cafés that the group frequented were located. The group included painters such as Paul Cézanne, Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Claude Monet.
Of all these young disciples, Manet”s most intimate friend was undoubtedly Claude Monet, the future leader of Impressionism. The families of the two painters quickly became very close and spent long days together in the greenery of Argenteuil, at the Monets” home. These regular visits were an opportunity for Édouard Manet to paint several intimate portraits of his friend, such as the one ironically called Claude Monet painting in his studio, and above all to try to imitate the latter”s style and favorite themes, especially water. The emulation is visible in Argenteuil, where Manet voluntarily forces his line to get closer to the impressionism of Monet, with a Seine of an outrageous blue.
This mutual admiration did not, however, prevent the two men from developing, independently of each other, their own styles. One can thus usefully compare two views of Paris painted on the same day on the same subject in 1878, on the occasion of the World”s Fair: while Manet”s Rue Mosnier aux drapeaux presents an austere and almost arid landscape, the luxuriant splendor of Monet”s Rue Montorgueil reveals a radically different point of view.
Édouard Manet was also closely associated with the painter Edgar Degas, although the latter was not specifically a member of the Batignolles group. The two men were inseparable during the dark hours of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 when, trapped in besieged Paris with his friend, Manet could only communicate by letter with his wife Suzanne, who had taken refuge in the provinces. Manet and Degas found other affinities during the Paris Commune through their joint opposition to the Versailles party. Although the two men often quarreled and clashed for pre-eminence in the artistic avant-garde, Degas always held Manet in high esteem and helped promote Manet”s work after his death.
The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama
Historical painting, because of its very academic character, remained a marginal genre in Manet”s work, although a few important contemporary events nevertheless caught his interest. In 1865, for example, Manet immortalized a Civil War naval battle that took place off the coast of Cherbourg on June 19, 1864, between the Federal ship Kearsarge and the Confederate ship Alabama: Le Combat du Kearsarge et de l”Alabama (134 × 127 cm). In 1872, Barbey d”Aurevilly stated that “Manet”s painting is above all a magnificent marine”, emphasizing that “the sea it swells around is more terrible than the combat”. The painting exhibited at Alfred Cadart”s received praise from the critic Philippe Burty.
In the same year, Manet painted several canvases on the theme of the Kearsarge and on the theme of fishing boats, which bear witness to the maritime activities of the time: L”arrivée à Boulogne du Kearsarge(1864), Le Steam-boat, marine ou Vue de mer, temps calme (1864-1865) or portraits of members of his crew (Pierrot ivre, watercolor that would caricature the pilot Pontillon, future husband of Edma Morisot, sister of the painter Berthe Morisot with whom Manet befriended).
The Execution of Maximilian
Manet was still reeling from the failure of his exhibition at the Alma when, on June 19, 1867, even though the Universal Exhibition was not yet over, news of the execution of Maximilian of Habsburg in Mexico reached the French capital. Édouard Manet, always a fervent republican, was scandalized by the way Napoleon III, after having imposed Maximilian”s establishment in Mexico, withdrew the support of French troops. The painter worked for more than a year on a large commemorative and historical canvas, from the summer of 1867 to the end of 1868.
He made several versions of the same subject. The first is in the Boston Museum, fragments of the second are in the National Gallery in London, the final sketch is in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, the final composition in the Mannheim Museum.
“The Boston version is the closest to Goya, in the romantic spirit that animates it and in the warm tones, which a cold harmony of greys, greens and blacks will replace in the following versions. While Goya captured the moment when the soldiers are pointing their guns, Manet fixes the shot. This version would be the primitive laboratory of the composition.”
Inspired by Goya”s Tres de Mayo, and yet treated in a radically different manner, the scene of Maximilian”s Execution satisfied Manet, who would undoubtedly have proposed it to the salon had he not been informed in advance that it would be refused. But the painting, known in the art world, was to be emulated, notably by Gérôme and his Execution of Marshal Ney. “With his sequence of executions, Manet is an example of the last effort to recreate the great historical painting. It was not until Picasso”s Guernica (1937), and more clearly the Korean Massacres, that Manet”s challenge was taken up, a challenge that Manet himself had thrown down to Goya and to the great tradition.”
Exhibited in the United States by the painter”s friend, the singer Émilie Ambre, during her tours in 1879 and 1880, the painting was only relatively successful. The triumph of Impressionism will repress for a while the ambition to paint the great events of the time.
The Paris Commune – Republican Manet
A convinced Republican, Manet joined the National Guard at the time of the 1870 war at the same time as Degas under the orders of the painter Meissonier, who was a colonel. After the capitulation, he stayed in Bordeaux before returning to Paris where he found his studio in the rue Guyot. The last upheavals of the Commune tore Paris apart, and Manet, whom it had elected to its Federation of Artists, disassociated himself from its excesses. However, he looked with horror at the savagery of the repression and expressed it in two lithographs La Barricade (1871-1873 (Boston Museum of Fine Arts) where the gunmen drawn from behind evoke the execution of Maximilian or Civil War (1871, a print from 1874 is kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France) in which Manet reverses the image of the dead Torero in the drawing of a body lying at the foot of a deserted barricade and the emotional charge of the work is further reinforced “by a tight framing, the artist concentrates the attention of the viewer on this recumbent whose solitude says the ineptitude of the rapid and savage repression. “
Like his contemporaries, Manet was struck by the adventure of Henri Rochefort who, deported to New Caledonia after the Commune, escaped in 1874 and reached Australia on a small whaler. Republican but cautious, “the artist waited for the triumph of the Republicans in the Senate and the House in January 1879, as well as the vote of an amnesty law for the communards in July 1880 authorizing the return to France of the escapee to tackle the subject.
Manet, who was ill at the time, asked to meet Rochefort to obtain details of the adventure, and on December 4, 1880, he wrote to Stéphane Mallarmé: “I saw Rochefort yesterday, the boat that served them was a dark gray whaleboat; six people, two oars. Amitiés.” It was from Rochefort”s accounts that he composed two paintings entitled L”Évasion de Rochefort, one of which, where the characters are more precise, is preserved in the Musée d”Orsay in Paris, the other being in the Kunsthaus in Zurich. The following January, in 1881, Manet painted a life-size portrait of Henri Rochefort, now in the Hamburg Museum.
A little earlier (in 1879-1880) he had made the Portrait of Clemenceau, when Georges Clemenceau was President of the Council, linked to Gustave Manet, the painter”s brother, city councilor of La Chapelle (1878-1881), in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, Clemenceau”s electoral fief.
The world of the sea
From 1868 onwards, the Manets made a habit of spending their summers in Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the Pas-de-Calais, where they had acquired an apartment. In addition to Le Déjeuner dans l”atelier, these repeated stays allowed Édouard Manet to develop a genre that had always attracted him: seascapes and the world of the sea. Boulogne, an important fishing port, was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for a painter who loved naturalistic subjects.
The striking Clair de lune sur le port de Boulogne, depicts the return of a fishing boat at nightfall and the waiting of the sailors” wives, under the light of the moon. From this ordinary scene, Manet creates a mysterious and dramatic chiaroscuro, probably inspired by 17th century Flemish and Dutch nightscapes or Vernet”s moonlit seascapes. It is also possible that Manet was inspired by a small painting by Van der Neer that he owned and offered at a sale before withdrawing it. About fifty works by Van der Neer on similar themes were sold in Paris between 1860 and 1880.
The vacations in Boulogne saw the birth of other important paintings, in particular the Departure of the steamer from Folkestone, in 1869: Manet depicts the paddle-steamer that provided the link with the English port of Folkestone, and on which the painter had embarked the previous year to visit London. The lady dressed in white on the left-hand side of the composition would be Suzanne Manet, accompanied by her son Léon. The painting, unlike the Moonlight, is one of the most striking examples of Manet”s ability to play with light and color. The Tarred Boat, was painted on the beach of Berck, and takes as its theme the work of fishermen.
The Boulogne pier is also the subject of several works, most of them belonging to private collectors, with the exception of one in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, almost all of which are entitled Jetée de Boulogne.
Manet returned to the theme of boats in 1872-1873 with a painting currently housed at the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art in Le Havre. The work entitled Boats at Sea. Soleil couchant, (MNR 873), of a small format, rather unusual for a marine, was probably done during one of the painter”s stays in Berck. Shortly afterwards, Claude Monet presented two paintings at the 1874 exhibition, Impression, soleil levant and Impression soleil couchant, which gave the “kick-off” to the Impressionist movement to which he gave his name.
Cafés and concert cafés
The role of cafés, brasseries and concert halls was as important in the artistic life of the 19th century as it was in the political life. Painters, writers, journalists and collectors often met there. Around Manet, a “cenacle” was formed which, from 1866 onwards, according to Théodore Duret, met on Friday evenings at the Café Guerbois, located at 11 Grand-Rue-des-Batignolles, which has now become Avenue de Clichy. Two tables are reserved for this group that holds tumultuous discussions from which the new criteria of art will emerge. Around the painter we find all his comrades from the Couture studio and the 1863 group, among whom are Fantin-Latour, Whistler, Renoir.
The painter, who had his studio at 34 boulevard des Batignolles from 1864 to 1866, met every evening in this large café, which was later named Brasserie Muller. Then, after the war of 1870, around 1875, Manet took up residence in La Nouvelle Athènes, place Blanche. These two cafés were high places of impressionism, but Manet also frequented the meeting place of advanced republicans, future members of the Paris Commune, such as Raoul Rigault, or Jules Vallès.
Manet dealt with the theme of cafés several times, for example with The Good Bock in 1873 (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 94 × 83 cm), but it was especially after 1878 that the theme became notable with the large painting entitled Reichshoffen, which depicted the interior of the new cabaret on rue Rochechouart in the Montmartre district of Paris. Manet divided the painting into two separate pictures: Au café (Oskar Reinhart Museum “Am Römerholz”, Winterthur, Switzerland) and Coin de Café-Concert au cabaret de Reichshoffen (National Gallery, London, oil on canvas, 97.1 × 77.5 cm), of which there is a version painted a few months later in 1878-1879 and exhibited at the Musée d”Orsay: La Serveuse de bocks (oil on canvas, 77.5 × 65 cm). Other paintings, such as Au café and La Prune, date from the same period, as does a less finished and lesser-known work Intérieur d”un café (ca. 1880) in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, UK.
However, it is another atmosphere, that of a restaurant with a garden, located on the Avenue de Clichy, which inspired the artist to paint Chez le père Lathuille (1879), in which we see a young man hurrying to a young woman and courting her. “He has, at the Salon of this year, a very remarkable portrait of Mr. Antonin Proust and an open-air scene, Chez le père Lathuille, two figures at a cabaret table, of a charming gaiety and delicacy of tones.
It was while still dealing with the world of cafés and places of pleasure that Manet, already deeply consumed by syphilis, produced in 1881-1882 one of his last major works entitled A Bar at the Folies Bergère. The scene, contrary to appearances, was not painted in the bar of the Folies Bergère but was entirely recreated in the studio. The young woman serving as model, Suzon, is on the other hand a real employee of this famous café-concert. The many elements on the marble bar, whether bottles of alcohol, flowers or fruit, form a pyramid shape that culminates in the flowers that adorn the blouse of the waitress herself. But the aspect which held the most attention of the critics was the reflection of Suzon in the mirror. The latter does not seem to reflect an exact image of the scene, both in terms of the posture of the young woman and the presence of the man in front of her, so close that it should logically hide everything from the eyes of the viewer. This, according to Huysmans, “stupefies the assistants who crowd around exchanging disoriented observations on the mirage of this painting. The subject is very modern and the idea of Mr. Manet to put his female figure in her environment in this way is ingenious. It is really deplorable to see a man of Mr. Manet”s value sacrificing himself to such subterfuges and, in short, to make paintings that are as conventional as those of others! I regret it all the more because, in spite of its plastery tones, his bar is full of qualities, his wife is well-campaigned, his crowd has intense swarms of life. In spite of everything, this bar is certainly the most modern, the most interesting picture that this salon contains.”
It is not excluded that the idea of a composition in front of a mirror was inspired to Manet by a painting of Gustave Caillebotte In a café. where a man standing cut at the knees leans against a table in front of a mirror (composition itself derived from the Déjeuner dans l”atelier of Manet.
This false perspective, so rich in poetic implications, surprised from the beginning. Stop”s caricature in Le Journal amusant bears witness to this. In the caption of the drawing, we read this comment: “La Marchande de consolation aux Folies-Bergère: her back is reflected in a mirror, but undoubtedly, as a result of a distraction on the part of the painter, a gentleman with whom she is talking and whose image we see in the mirror, does not exist in the painting. We believe we must repair this omission – Salon 1882 – The amusing newspaper “. Like many other scenes in Manet”s paintings, the Bar at the Folies-Bergères was entirely reconstructed in the studio, as testified by the account of Pierre Georges Jeanniot who came to visit the painter at that time in his studio. Manet, who was already very ill, welcomed the young man by telling him: “He was painting the Bar at the Folies-Bergères, and the model, a pretty girl, was posing behind a table loaded with bottles and victuals. He recognized me at once, held out his hand to me, and said: “It”s boring, I have to sit still. My feet hurt. Sit there.”
Manet also liked still lifes: “A painter can say everything with fruit or flowers, or clouds only,” he said. A significant part of his work is devoted to this genre, especially before 1870 and in the last years of his life when illness immobilized him in his studio. Certain elements of his paintings constitute true still lifes, such as the basket of fruit in Déjeuner sur l”herbe, the bouquet of flowers in Olympia or the pot of flowers, the table set and various objects in Petit déjeuner dans l”atelier. The same is true of the portraits, with the tray carrying a glass and carafe in Portrait of Théodore Duret or the table and books in Portrait of Émile Zola. But there is no shortage of autonomous still lifes in Manet”s work: the artist thus painted fish, oysters or other dishes several times (Nature morte au cabas et à l”ail, 1861-1862, Louvre Abu Dhabi, or La Brioche, 1870 – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), thus paying a sort of tribute to Chardin. Even more often, he painted floral subjects reminiscent of Dutch painting (roses, peonies, lilacs, violets) or fruits and vegetables (there is an anecdote about A Bunch of Asparagus: when Charles Ephrussi bought the painting for more than the price offered, Manet sent him a small painting (now in the Musée d”Orsay) depicting a single piece of asparagus, with the words “Your bunch was missing one”.
Beyond the traditional genre, Édouard Manet”s still lifes attract attention by sometimes constituting real dramatic settings, as shown by the painting Vase of Peonies on a Pedestal (1864): by the composition of the wilting flowers, the petals that have fallen to the ground, and the very tight framing of the vase, the viewer”s gaze is caught and drawn towards a downward movement.
“Almost all of Manet”s prints date from the beginning of his career between 1862 and 1868. Although about half of these 100 prints remained unpublished during his lifetime, all of them were undoubtedly made for publication, and most of them after paintings. They are rather reproduction prints in the sense of the 18th century, they are not yet original prints in the sense of the Impressionists. We are between two worlds. It is no longer the Ancien Régime, it is not yet the Republic. French capitalism provides a new public. Manet”s painting around 1868 reflects new values. At this time, on the other hand, he ceased to engrave, so to speak: it is that there were other obstacles for the print that Manet”s efforts shook, but were not enough to remove.
– Michel Melot
From 1860-1861, Manet worked on engraving and produced a total of nearly one hundred prints – seventy-three etchings and twenty-six lithographs and woodblock drawings -, some of which were based on the subjects of some of his paintings, while the others were completely original. He devoted himself to this work on a regular basis until 1869, and returned to it episodically thereafter until 1882. Prints and reprints were also made after his death.
He was introduced to this art by Alphonse Legros and published in the form of albums by Alfred Cadart, who, via the Société des aquafortistes, produced two issues from September 1862.
It is very difficult to establish an exact chronology of the 99 prints. The first one seems to have been Manet père I, drypoint and etching dated and signed, executed at the end of 1860. We can note The Guitarero (1861), The Absinthe Drinker (1861-1862), Lola de Valence (1862), The Tragic Actor (1866), Olympia (1867, published by Dentu in the study that Émile Zola devoted to the painting), L”Exécution de Maximilien (1868, lithograph), Le Torero mort (1868), La Barricade and Guerre civile (1871, lithographs), Berthe Morisot (1872) and Le Polichinelle (his only color lithograph, 1876).
He also engraved illustrations for the bookstore such as Fleur exotique, inspired by Goya, for the collection Sonnets et eaux-fortes (A. Lemerre, 1868), Le chat et les fleurs in Champfleury”s Les Chats (Jules Rothschild, 1869, not forgetting Le Rendez-vous des chats, lithograph for the launch poster), the two portraits of Charles Baudelaire published in the study signed Charles Asselineau (A. Lemerre, 1869), the frontispiece for Les Ballades de Théodore de Banville (summer 1874), and above all, three works for which he was the only original illustrator, namely eight plates for Le Fleuve by Charles Cros (La Librairie de l”eau-forte, 1874), four plates and two vignettes for Le Corbeau (Richard Lesclide, 1875) by Edgar Allan Poe translated by Stéphane Mallarmé, and, by the same author, four compositions on wood for L”Après-midi d”un faune (A. Derenne, 1876).
In 1875, Manet illustrated The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, which had been translated by Baudelaire. He produced autographs for the bookplate and four illustrations.
The autographs were of particular importance to Manet, who took great care in their choice of paper and technique, according to Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. The autographs are six brush drawings in autographic ink, transferred to zinc and printed by Lefman. The image sheets were inserted between the double sheets of text. The publisher had to accommodate the refined tastes of the poet and the artist. Stéphane Mallarmé reports that he was frightened by the black silk that Manet wanted to put on the back of the cardboard, and that the painter still demanded “A parchment, a soft green or yellow paper approaching the tone of the cover.” The illustration for the first stanza is a fairly accurate drawing that details the poet at his table. The next, reworked many times by the artist, is more impressive gloomy midnight, with a dark and sad landscape. In the third plate, the raven is still perched on the bust of Pallas, repeating its sinister Nevermore, and Manet, following the text very closely, has invented an extraordinary image to express the confrontation between the raven and the poet. And the more one advances in the text, the more the plates become black until the last image almost illegible with the play of the shadows and the broad brushstrokes. The fate of the Raven, although very refined work, was very disappointing. According to Henri Mondor and Jean Aubry, “its too bulky format, the illustrations of Édouard Manet, still much discussed in 1875, the singularity, for the majority of the readers, of Poe”s poem, the still almost unknown name of Mallarmé, everything concurred to keep away the possible buyers.” The following year, L”Après-midi d”un faune by Mallarmé, which was to be published by Alphonse Derenne, was to receive a better reception, without being successful.
According to Léon Rosenthal, four of Manet”s plates have disappeared and exist only as photographs: The Street Singer, The Men in Straw Hats, The Posada and The Travelers.
Manet also used graphite and ink wash for two Annabel Lee (1879-1881). The first, Young Woman by the Sea (46.2 × 29 cm), is in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, the second in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. Earlier, he had used this technique with À la fenêtre (27 × 18 cm, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des dessins) and Marine au clair de lune (20 × 18 cm, idem).
In 1877-1878, Manet produced two carriages. One is in graphite (Cabinet des dessins du Louvre), the other in black pencil and blue ink wash. The Man with Crutches (27 × 20 cm), now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, is the figure seen from behind in Rue Mosnier aux drapeaux. The invalid, who was drawn in India ink wash, lived in the Europe district. The drawing was a cover project for Les Mendiants, a song by his friend Ernest Cabaner with lyrics by Jean Richepin.
In 1879, Édouard Manet, who was ill, stayed with his wife for six weeks in the hydrotherapy establishment founded by Dr. Louis Désiré Fleury in Meudon-Bellevue. When he returned for a four-month cure in May 1880, he stayed at the Pierres-Blanches trail where he painted several pictures. He even won a prize at the 1881 Salon and was awarded the Legion of Honor by his friend Antonin Proust, who had become the Minister of Fine Arts. The award was made despite opposition at the end of 1881 and the ceremony took place on January 1, 1882.
Weakened for several years, he painted during the last two years small canvases that he executed seated (many small still lifes of fruits and flowers, such as Roses in a Vase), but especially portraits of his visitors in pastel, a technique less tiring than oil painting. He finally died on April 30, 1883 at 39, rue de Saint-Pétersbourg at the age of 51, following a locomotor ataxia resulting from syphilis contracted in Rio. The disease, in addition to the numerous sufferings and the partial paralysis of the limbs which it had caused him, degenerated then into a gangrene which imposed to amputate his left foot eleven days before his death.
The funeral took place on May 3, 1883 at the cemetery of Passy, in the presence of Émile Zola, Alfred Stevens, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and many other of his former acquaintances. According to Antonin Proust, his lifelong friend, the funeral procession included “wreaths, flowers, and many women”. Degas, for his part, is said to have said of Manet that “he was greater than we thought”.
His tomb is in the 4th division of the cemetery, an epitaph engraved by Felix Bracquemond in 1890 “Manet et manebit” (in Latin: “He remains and will remain”, a pun on the painter”s name) can summarize the general feeling of the art world after his death. He is buried with his wife Suzanne, his brother Eugène and his sister-in-law Berthe. His bust on his tombstone is the work of the Dutch sculptor and painter Ferdinand Leenhoff, brother of Manet”s companion.
Manet was reviled, insulted and ridiculed, but became the recognized leader of the “avant-garde”. If the painter was linked to the actors of the impressionist movement, he is wrongly considered today as one of its fathers. He is a powerful inspiration as much by his painting as by his favorite themes. His way of painting, concerned with reality, remains fundamentally different from that of Claude Monet or Camille Pissarro. Some of his works are close to Impressionism, such as L”Évasion de Rochefort, Portrait de Claude Monet peignant sur son bateau-atelier à Argenteuil and Une allée dans le jardin de Rueil. If Manet stayed away from Impressionism, he nevertheless supported its representatives, in particular his sister-in-law Berthe Morisot, at the first exhibition of the First Exhibition of Impressionist Painters.
The master left more than 400 paintings and countless pastels, sketches and watercolors that constitute a major pictorial work with a definite influence on the artists of his time, such as the Batignolles group, and far beyond: Manet is indeed internationally recognized as one of the most important precursors of modern painting; his major paintings can be seen in the world”s greatest museums. It was in 1907, ironically in the history of painting, that Olympia, “refused” in 1863, entered the Louvre Museum 44 years after its creation (it is now in the Musée d”Orsay).
Édouard Manet plays an important role in Olivier Rolin”s novel Un chasseur de lions (2008), alongside the comical and derisory adventurer Eugène Pertuiset, whose portrait he painted in 1881 “as Tartarin”.
In 2000, one of his paintings sold for over twenty million dollars. In 2014, at Christie”s in New York, the painting Spring, owned by a collector and his family for over a hundred years, was sold for $65 million (52 million euros).
In 2004, a Geneva junk dealer discovered an unknown painting by Manet hidden under a crust. He claims to have identified in the portrait of a beautiful young woman, Méry Laurent, the model and a mistress of Édouard Manet. The initial painting, considered scandalous because of its erotic character, was masked and forgotten. The attribution of this painting to Édouard Manet is however not confirmed.
On June 22, 2010, a self-portrait by Édouard Manet was sold in London for £22.4 million (27 million euros), a record amount for a work by the French painter.
In 2012, following an auction, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was able to acquire the Portrait of Miss Claus painted in 1868, thanks to a public subscription of £7.83 million. The painting was banned from being exported from Great Britain by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.
His only known pupil was Eva Gonzalès (1849-1883) who was introduced to him in 1869 by Alfred Stevens. She met Berthe Morisot in Manet”s studio, who was jealous of her friendship with the master. He painted a picture of her painting a still life in 1870, a canvas now in the collections of the National Gallery in London.