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Edouard ManetEdouard Manet

Edouard Manet

Édouard Manet (Parijs, 23 januari 1832 - aldaar, 30 april 1883) was een zeer belangrijke 19e-eeuwse Franse kunstschilder, die niet bij een bepaalde school of beweging hoorde. Manet kwam uit een Parijs bourgeois milieu. Zijn vader, Auguste, was onder meer rechter en zijn moeder, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was de peetdochter van een Zweedse prins.
Manet, die erg op zijn ouders gesteld was, schijnt een gelukkige jeugd gehad te hebben, maar hij had een hekel aan school en bleef dan ook één keer zitten. Op school leerde hij zijn trouwe vriend Antonin Proust kennen, die op enkele schilderijen is afgebeeld en in 1897 het boek Souvenirs de Manet (Herinneringen aan Manet) publiceerde.

Hij was overigens de oom van de beroemde schrijver Marcel Proust.
Zijn vader wilde dat hij ook rechten ging studeren, maar zelf wilde de jonge Manet kunstenaar worden. Hij werd hierin gestimuleerd door zijn oom Charles Fournier. Manets vader meende dat hij ook naar zee kon gaan en stuurde hem op zijn zestiende op een reis van een half jaar naar Rio de Janeiro.
Manet vond het aan boord erg saai en zat dan ook uren achtereen te tekenen.

Bij thuiskomst begon zijn carrière als schilder: hij schreef zich in januari 1850 samen met Proust in als leerling van Thomas Couture en als kopiïst in het Louvre. In het Louvre en tijdens reizen naar Nederland en Italië bracht Manet veel tijd door met het kopiëren van oude meesters, die hem later ook vaak tot inspiratie dienden (zie onder).
Couture, die in 1847 naam had gemaakt met het gigantische doek Les Romains de la décadence, hield zich afzijdig van de officiële, competitiegerichte kunstacademies, de Écoles. Hij vond dat deze zich teveel op details richtten en probeerde zijn studenten het belang van spontaniteit en frisheid bij te brengen. Ook meende hij dat kunstenaars eenzame genieën waren, een romantisch idee dat veel jongeren aansprak.

Niettemin had Manet, die toch zes jaar zijn leerling bleef, vaak aanvaringen met hem. Hoewel Manet het ook vakinhoudelijk dikwijls met Coutures lessen oneens was, heeft Couture toch veel invloed op hem gehad. Dit zou vooral gelden voor Manets Spaans georiënteerde werk (zie later).
Naast de lessen van Couture bezocht Manet de Académie Suisse. In 1849 begon Manet een verhouding met de Nederlandse Suzanne Leenhoff, toentertijd de pianolerares van zijn broers.

In 1853 werd haar onwettige zoon Léon geboren, die daarna doorging voor haar jongere broer.
Omdat Manet door zijn syfilis (zie onder) waarschijnlijk onvruchtbaar was, was hij vermoedelijk niet de biologische vader; mogelijk was Manets vader dat. Op 28 oktober 1863 trouwden Manet en Suzanne in Zaltbommel. Uit het huwelijk werden geen kinderen geboren.
Manet heeft Suzanne en Léon enige malen geschilderd.

Na zijn tijd bij Couture bood Manet zijn schilderij De absint-drinker uit 1859 aan aan de Salon, de belangrijke jaarlijkse kunsttentoonstelling. In die tijd waren er nauwelijks andere gelegenheden voor schilders om hun werk aan het publiek te tonen.
De jury van de Salon weigerde het doek, ten eerste omdat het een dronken man toonde en ten tweede omdat delen ervan een onaffe en vage indruk maakten. Ook Couture vond het slecht. Het doek toont al wat Manets voornaamste onderwerp zou zijn: het moderne Parijse leven.

Manet was een flâneur, die vaak de trendy cafés frequenteerde, altijd keurig gekleed (er zijn overigens aanwijzingen dat onder dat joviale uiterlijk een erg neurotische man schuilging, iets wat sommigen ook in zijn werk menen terug te zien). Dit heeft sterk te maken met het concept van "het heldendom van het moderne leven" van de dichter Baudelaire, een goede vriend van Manet. In 1862 maakte Manet het doek Muziek in de Tuilerieën, dat een grote groep rijke mensen toont in dit Parijse park, onder wie Manet zelf en vrienden en familieleden.
Net als bij De absintdrinker zijn bepaalde stukken scherp en andere, ook op de voorgrond, onscherp, en critici waren dan ook weer furieus. In de jaren 1860 maakte Manet veel werk met Spaanse thema's.

Al in de jaren 1840 waren Spaanse schilderijen in de mode in Parijs; Manet moet deze in het Louvre gezien hebben.
Zijn werk De Spaanse Zanger uit 1860 was zijn eerste succes in de Salon. In 1864 exposeerde hij er Episode d'un Course de Taureaux (Incident tijdens een stierengevecht). Na zijn bezoek aan Madrid in 1865 werd hij vooral beïnvloed door Diego Velázquez.
In navolging van de Spaanse meester maakte Manet een serie schilderijen van "bedelaar-filosofen", die hij in 1867 exposeerde tijdens de Wereldtentoonstelling.

Omdat zijn werk daar afgewezen werd, deed hij dit in een eigen paviljoen, net als Courbet. Manet werd ook beïnvloed door de Japanse kunst, die in die tijd voor het eerst populair werd in Frankrijk.
In 1863 was er zoveel protest over het oordeel van de jury van de Salon dat keizer Napoleon III een speciale, gelijktijdige tentoonstelling van de geweigerde werken verordonneerde, de beroemde Salon des Refusés. Manet toonde er drie werken, waarvan het bekendste Déjeuner sur l'Herbe is (Lunch op het gras). Het toont een picknick van twee eigentijds geklede mannen en een naakte en een halfnaakte vrouw.

De stand van de drie figuren in de voorgrond is een overduidelijke verwijzing naar Het Oordeel van Paris van Rafaël, dat Manet kende in een kopie van de kopergraveur Marcantonio Raimondi, maar het is ook geïnspireerd door Pastoraal Concert van Titiaan. Critici waren er furieus over; zij vonden dat Manets "picknick" deze Renaissance-werken ontheiligde door ze te "citeren" in een moderne context, waarbij gewone, moderne mensen de plaats innamen van goden en nimfen. In tegenstelling tot wat bij die oudere doeken het geval was, was het voor toeschouwers onduidelijk waarom de vrouwen naakt waren.
In 1865 durfde de jury van de Salon niet te veel werken te weigeren, zodat ook Manets Olympia geaccepteerd werd, een naakt geïnspireerd op Titiaans Venus van Urbino. De kritiek leek op die op Déjeuner: in Manets versie was het te duidelijk dat de naakte vrouw in kwestie een prostituee voorstelde.

Een ander punt was dat het model, hetzelfde als in Déjeuner, bekend was in Parijs.
Victorine Meurent, die overigens zelf ook schilderde, was Manets favoriete model. De schrijver Zola verdedigde Manets werk en werd als dank door hem rond 1867 geportretteerd. In 1873 maakte Manet het schilderij Le Bon Bock ("Het goede glas bier"), dat een gezette, pijprokende, bierdrinkende man toont en duidelijk geïnspireerd is door het werk van Frans Hals.
Dit viel zeer in de smaak, zelfs bij de meest conservatieve critici.

De executie van keizer Maximiliaan van Mexico, één van de twee historische scènes die Manet schilderde. Manet had weinig op met historische onderwerpen, maar hij maakte wel schilderijen over politieke gebeurtenissen in zijn eigen tijd, bijvoorbeeld die in Mexico in de jaren 1861-1867. Tijdens de oorlog van 1870, tussen Frankrijk en Pruisen, was Manet lid van de Franse Nationale Garde, met de opdracht Parijs te verdedigen, maar hij is nooit direct betrokken geweest bij een gevecht.
Aansluitend, in 1871, was hij betrokken bij de Parijse Commune. Hij was lid van een commissie van kunstenaars in de Commune, waarvan Courbet voorzitter was. Na de afslachting door het Franse leger van minstens 20.

000 communards heeft Manet daarvan tekeningen gemaakt. Manet wordt soms beschouwd als impressionist, maar dit is niet juist, hoewel hij later wel door hen beïnvloed werd. Manets ideeën waren heel anders en dat gold ook voor zijn werkwijze.
Zo werkte hij bijvoorbeeld vooral in zijn atelier, weinig en plein air (in de open lucht). Ook was zijn kleurenpalet, zeker in het begin van zijn carrière, minder helder en gebruikte hij veel zwart.

Hoewel Manet, vaak tevergeefs, niet als leider van de impressionisten gezien wilde worden, keken de jonge avant-gardisten toch tegen hem op.
Zij zagen in hem een aanvoerder in de strijd tegen de vastgeroeste Écoles, en vonden dan ook bijvoorbeeld dat hij met Le Bon Bock te veel concessies had gedaan. In 1874 vond de eerste impressionistische tentoonstelling plaats, maar Manet nam de uitnodiging die hij had gekregen niet aan. Ondanks alles was hij met vele impressionisten wel goed bevriend.
Over de toen nog onbekende Monet zou Manet in 1865 gezegd hebben: "Wie is die Monet, wiens naam zo lijkt op de mijne en die zo profiteert van mijn beruchtheid?" In de zomer van 1874 maakte Manet een schilderij van Monet terwijl deze aan het werk is op zijn "atelierboot" op de Seine bij Argenteuil.

Het in dezelfde zomer gemaakte schilderij van Monets vrouw Camille en hun zoon Jean bij de Seine is Manets meest impressionistische werk. De techniek van het weergeven van water heeft Manet hiervoor duidelijk van Monet geleerd.
In 1868-1869 schilderde Manet Le Balcon, dat naar een werk van Goya uit 1812 verwijst. Een van de figuren is Berthe Morisot, een jonge schilderes die hij kort daarvoor in het Louvre ontmoet had. Vermoedelijk hebben ze geen intieme relatie met elkaar gehad, maar ze waren wel erg op elkaar gesteld.

In 1874 trouwde Morisot met Manets jongere broer Eugène. Morisot hoorde bij de impressionisten en zou enige invloed op Manets werk hebben gehad. Tijdens de Salon van 1881 kreeg Manet een medaille, de Légion d'Honneur, de erkenning die hij altijd al gewild had.
In 1882 maakte hij het doek Een Bar in de Folies-Bergère, dat geldt als zijn laatste meesterwerk. Manet stierf aan de ziekte locomotorische ataxie, die het centraal zenuwstelsel aantast en verlamming veroorzaakt.

De oorzaak was syfilis, mogelijk al in 1848 opgelopen.
Het laatste half jaar van zijn leven had Manet bijna voortdurend pijn. Vlak voor zijn dood in 1883 kreeg hij ook nog koudvuur in zijn been, dat afgezet moest worden. Antonin Proust sprak op de begrafenis en Monet en Zola droegen de kist.
Vlak voor zijn dood in 1883 kreeg hij ook nog koudvuur in zijn been, dat afgezet moest worden.

Antonin Proust sprak op de begrafenis en Monet en Zola droegen de kist. Verder waren onder meer Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Renoir en Eugène Boudin aanwezig.

English Version

Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883, was a French painter. One of the first nineteenth century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) and Olympia engendered great controversy, and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism.
Today these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art. Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832, to an affluent and well connected family.

His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the daughter of a diplomat and goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince, Charles Bernadotte, from whom the current Swedish monarchs are descended.
His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. His uncle, Charles Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and often took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1845, at the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent life-long friend.
At his father's suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro.

After Manet twice failed the examination to join the Navy, the elder Manet relented to his son's wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter, Thomas Couture, who reproduced large, historical paintings on his canvas.
In his spare time Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre. From 1853 to 1856 he visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, during which time he absorbed the influences of the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya. In 1856, Manet opened his own studio.

His style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and the suppression of transitional tones. Adopting the current style of realism initiated by Gustave Courbet, he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59) and other contemporary subjects such as beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. After his early years, he rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; examples include his Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Music in the Tuileries is an early example of Manet's painterly style, inspired by Hals and Velázquez, and it is a harbinger of his life-long interest in the subject of leisure. While the picture was regarded as unfinished by some, the suggested atmosphere imparts a sense of what the Tuileries gardens were like at the time; one may imagine the music and conversation.

A major early work is The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe).
The Paris Salon rejected it for exhibition in 1863 but he exhibited it at the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) later in the year. Emperor Napoleon III had initiated The Salon des Refusés after the Paris Salon rejected more than 4,000 paintings in 1863. The painting's juxtaposition of fully-dressed men and a nude woman was controversial, as was its abbreviated, sketch-like handling— an innovation that distinguished Manet from Courbet.
At the same time, Manet's composition reveals his study of the old masters, as the disposition of the main figures is derived from Marcantonio Raimondi's engraving of the Judgement of Paris (c.

1515) based on a drawing by Raphael. Scholars also cite two works as important precedents for Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, Pastoral Concert, 1508, (The Louvre) and The Tempest (Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice), both of which are famous Renaissance paintings attributed variously to Italian masters Giorgione or Titian (circa 1508).
The Tempest is a mysterious and enigmatic painting that features a fully-dressed man and a nude woman in a rural setting. The man is standing to the left and gazing to the side, apparently at the woman, who is sitting in the grass, partially nude, breastfeeding a baby; darkening clouds and distant lightning herald an approaching storm. The relationship between the two figures is unclear.

The painting Pastoral Concert, c.1508, in the collection of the Louvre, depicts what appears to be two seated men, both fully dressed and gazing intently at each other in a pastoral setting; the figure on the left plays a lute while the figure on the right gazes attentively at him. In the foreground two naked women accompany the two seated male figures, drapery wrapped around bare legs; one nymph has a flute, the other a pitcher of water.
In the background may be seen a distant house, a copse of trees and a shepherd who appears to be playing a pipe. As he had in Luncheon on the Grass, Manet again paraphrased a respected work by a Renaissance artist in the painting Olympia (1863), a nude portrayed in a style reminiscent of early studio photographs, but whose pose was based on Titian's Venus of Urbino (1538).

The painting is also reminiscent of Francisco Goya's painting, The Nude Maja (1800).
Manet embarked on the canvas after being challenged to give the Salon a nude painting to display. The painting was controversial partly because the nude is wearing some small items of clothing such as an orchid in her hair, a bracelet, a ribbon around her neck, and mule slippers, all of which accentuated her nakedness, comfortable courtesan lifestyle and sexuality. The orchid, upswept hair, black cat, and bouquet of flowers were all recognized symbols of sexuality at the time.
This modern Venus' body is thin, counter to prevailing standards; the painting's lack of idealism rankled viewers who noticed it despite its placement, high on the wall of the Salon.

A fully-dressed black servant is featured, exploiting the then-current theory that black people were hyper-sexed. That she is wearing the clothing of a servant to a courtesan here, furthers the sexual tension of the piece.
The flatness of Olympia is inspired by Japanese wood block art. Her flatness serves to make her more human and less voluptuous. Her body as well as her gaze is unabashedly confrontational.

She defiantly looks out as her servant offers flowers from one of her male suitors. Although her hand rests on her leg, hiding her pubic area in a "frog" gesture, also another sex symbol, the reference to traditional female virtue is ironic; a notion of modesty is notoriously absent in this work. The alert black cat at the foot of the bed strikes a sexually rebellious note in contrast to that of the sleeping dog in Titian's portrayal of the goddess in his Venus of Urbino.
Manet's uniquely frank (and largely unpopular) depiction of a self-assured prostitute was accepted by the Paris Salon in 1865. At the same time, his notoriety translated to popularity in the French avant-garde community.

"Olympia" immediately launched responses.
Caricatures, sketches, and paintings, all addressed this nude. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Gustave Courbet, Paul Cézanne, and Claude Monet all appreciated the painting's significance. As with Luncheon on the Grass, the painting raised the issue of prostitution within contemporary France and the roles of women within society.
The roughly painted style and photographic lighting in these works was seen as specifically modern, and as a challenge to the Renaissance works Manet copied or used as source material.

His work is considered 'early modern', partially because of the black outlining of figures, which draws attention to the surface of the picture plane and the material quality of paint. He became friends with the Impressionists Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro through another painter, Berthe Morisot, who was a member of the group and drew him into their activities.
The grand niece of the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Morisot's paintings first had been accepted in the Salon de Paris in 1864 and she continued to show in the salon for ten years. Manet became the friend and colleague of Berthe Morisot in 1868. She is credited with convincing Manet to attempt plein air painting, which she had been practicing since she was introduced to it by another friend of hers, Camille Corot.

They had a reciprocating relationship and Manet incorporated some of her techniques into his paintings. In 1874, she became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugene. Unlike the core Impressionist group, Manet maintained that modern artists should seek to exhibit at the Paris Salon rather than abandon it in favor of independent exhibitions.
Nevertheless, when Manet was excluded from the International exhibition of 1867, he set up his own exhibition. His mother worried that he would waste all his inheritance on this project, which was enormously expensive.

While the exhibition earned poor reviews from the major critics, it also provided his first contacts with several future Impressionist painters, including Degas.
Although his own work influenced and anticipated the Impressionist style, he resisted involvement in Impressionist exhibitions, partly because he did not wish to be seen as the representative of a group identity, and partly because he preferred to exhibit at the Salon. Eva Gonzalès was his only formal student. He was influenced by the Impressionists, especially Monet and Morisot.
Their influence is seen in Manet's use of lighter colors, but he retained his distinctive use of black, uncharacteristic of Impressionist painting.

He painted many outdoor (plein air) pieces, but always returned to what he considered the serious work of the studio. Manet enjoyed a close friendship with composer Emmanuel Chabrier, painting two portraits of him; the musician owned 14 of Manet's paintings and dedicated his Impromptu to Manet's wife.
Throughout his life, although resisted by art critics, Manet could number as his champions Émile Zola, who supported him publicly in the press, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Charles Baudelaire, who challenged him to depict life as it was. Manet, in turn, drew or painted each of them. Manet's paintings of cafe scenes are observations of social life in nineteenth century Paris.

People are depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Many of these paintings were based on sketches executed on the spot. He often visited the Brasserie Reichshoffen on boulevard de Rochechourt, upon which he based At the Cafe in 1878.
Several people are at the bar, and one woman confronts the viewer while others wait to be served. Such depictions represent the painted journal of a flâneur.

These are painted in a style which is loose, referencing Hals and Velázquez, yet they capture the mood and feeling of Parisian night life.
They are painted snapshots of bohemianism, urban working people, as well as some of the bourgeoisie. In Corner of a Cafe Concert, a man smokes while behind him a waitress serves drinks. In The Beer Drinkers a woman enjoys her beer in the company of a friend.
In The Cafe Concert, shown at right, a sophisticated gentleman sits at a bar while a waitress stands resolutely in the background, sipping her drink.

In The Waitress, a serving woman pauses for a moment behind a seated customer smoking a pipe, while a ballet dancer, with arms extended as she is about to turn, is on stage in the background. Manet also sat at the restaurant on the Avenue de Clichy called Pere Lathuille's, which had a garden as well as the dining area.
One of the paintings he produced here was, At Pere Lathuille's, in which a man displays an unrequited interest in a woman dining near him. In Le Bon Bock, a large, cheerful, bearded man sits with a pipe in one hand and a glass of beer in the other, looking straight at the viewer. Manet painted the upper class enjoying more formal social activities.

In Masked ball at the Opera, Manet shows a lively crowd of people enjoying a party. Men stand with top hats and long black suits while talking to women with masks and costumes. He included portraits of his friends in this picture.
Manet depicted other popular activities in his work. In Racing at Longchamp, an unusual perspective is employed to underscore the furious energy of racehorses as they rush toward the viewer.

In Skating Manet shows a well dressed woman in the foreground, while others skate behind her.
Always there is the sense of active urban life continuing behind the subject, extending outside the frame of the canvas. In View of the International Exhibition, soldiers relax, seated and standing, prosperous couples are talking. There is a gardener, a boy with a dog, a woman on horseback -— in short, a sample of the classes and ages of the people of Paris.
Manet's response to modern life included works devoted to war, in subjects that may be seen as updated interpretations of the genre of "history painting".

The first such work was the Battle of the Kearsarge and Alabama (1864), a sea skirmish from the American Civil War which took place off the French coast, and may have been witnessed by the artist. Of interest next was the French intervention in Mexico; from 1867 to 1869 Manet painted three versions of the Execution of Emperor Maximilian, an event which raised concerns regarding French foreign and domestic policy.
The several versions of the Execution are among Manet's largest paintings, which suggests that the theme was one which the painter regarded as most important. Its subject is the execution by Mexican firing squad of a Habsburg emperor, who had been installed by Napoleon III. Neither the paintings nor a lithograph of the subject were permitted to be shown in France.

As an indictment of formalized slaughter the paintings look back to Goya,and anticipate Picasso's Guernica. In January 1871 Manet traveled to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Pyrenees. In his absence his friends added his name to the "Fédération des artistes" (see:Courbet) of the Paris Commune.
Manet stayed away from Paris, perhaps, until after the semaine sanglante. In a letter to Berthe Morisot at Cherbourg (10 June 1871) he writes :" We came back to Paris a few days ago.

.
.".(the semaine sanglante ended on 28 May).
The Prints and Drawings Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest) has a watercolour/gouache (The Barricade) by Manet depicting a summary execution of Communards by Versailles troops based on a lithograph of the execution of Maximilian.

A similar piece (The Barricade), oil on plywood, is held by a private collector. On 18 March 1871 he wrote to his (confederate) friend Félix Bracquemond in Paris about his visit to Bordeaux, the provisory seat of the French National Assembly of the Third French Republic where Emile Zola introduced him to the sites: " I never imagined that France could be represented by such doddering old fools, not excepting that little twit Thiers.
.." (There followed some colorful language unsuitable at social events.

See "Manet by himself" 1991/2004.) If this could be interpreted as support of the Commune a following letter to Bracquemond (21 March 1871) expressed his idea more clearly: "Only party hacks and the ambitious, the Henrys of this world following on the heels of the Milliéres, the grotesque imitators of the Commune of 1793..
." He knew the communard Lucien Henry to have been a former painters model and Millière, an insurance agent.

"What an encouragement all these bloodthirsty caperings are for the arts! But there is at least one consolation in our misfortunes: that we're not politicians and have no desire to be elected as deputies".
(The letters are published in Julliet Wilson-Bareau, ed., Manet by himself UK: Little Brown, 2004.) Manet depicted many scenes of the streets of Paris in his works.
The Rue Mosnier Decked with Flags depicts red, white, and blue pennants covering buildings on either side of the street—another painting of the same title features a one-legged man walking with crutches.

Again depicting the same street, but this time in a different context, is Rue Monsnier with Pavers, in which men repair the roadway while people and horses move past. The Railway, widely known as The Gare Saint-Lazare, was painted in 1873.
The setting is the urban landscape of Paris in the late nineteenth century. Using his favorite model in his last painting of her, a fellow painter, Victorine Meurent, also the model for Olympia and the Luncheon on the Grass, sits before an iron fence holding a sleeping puppy and an open book in her lap. Next to her is a little girl with her back to the painter, who watches a train pass beneath them.

Instead of choosing the traditional natural view as background for an outdoor scene, Manet opts for the iron grating which "boldly stretches across the canvas" (Gay 106). The only evidence of the train is its white cloud of steam. In the distance, modern apartment buildings are seen.
This arrangement compresses the foreground into a narrow focus. The traditional convention of deep space is ignored.

When the painting was first exhibited at the official Paris Salon of 1874: "Visitors and critics found its subject baffling, its composition incoherent, and its execution sketchy.
Caricaturists ridiculed Manet's picture, in which only a few recognized the symbol of modernity that it has become today". The painting is currently displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
He completed painting his last major work, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère), in 1882 and it hung in the Salon that year.

In 1875, a book-length French edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" included lithographs by Manet and translation by Mallarmé. In 1881, with pressure from his friend Antonin Proust, the French government awarded Manet the Légion d'honneur.
After the death of his father in 1862, Manet married Suzanne Leenhoff in 1863. Leenhoff was a Dutch-born piano teacher of Manet's age with whom he had been romantically involved for approximately ten years. Leenhoff initially had been employed by Manet's father, Auguste, to teach Manet and his younger brother piano.

She also may have been Auguste's mistress. In 1852, Leenhoff gave birth, out of wedlock, to a son, Leon Koella Leenhoff. Eleven-year-old Leon Leenhoff, whose father may have been either of the Manets, posed often for Manet.
Most famously, he is the subject of the Boy Carrying a Sword of 1861 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). He also appears as the boy carrying a tray in the background of The Balcony.

Manet painted his wife in The Reading, among other paintings.

Bron(o.m.):Wikipedia

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