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Edouard Manet (1832-83). Edouard Manet (1832-83) From: Paris Themes: Café scenes, scenes of leisure, portraits. Movement: Impressionism. Style: Loose brushstrokes, flat colour, sharp outlines. Influences: Francisco Goya.

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Edouard Manet (1832-83)

From: Paris

Themes: Café scenes, scenes of leisure, portraits.

Movement: Impressionism.

Style: Loose brushstrokes, flat colour, sharp outlines.

Influences: Francisco Goya.

Edouard Manet was a student of art in the 1850s, when Gustave Courbet’s work was causing controversy.

He was deeply influenced by the Realist energy but the provincial paintings were not to the young Manet’s taste.

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A modern revolution:

  • Manet wanted to work in truly modern style.
  • He greatly admired paintings by the old masters and had a clear vision of how to modernise these grand traditions in a specifically French context.
  • Unfortunately this vision did not fit with the Academic manner.

A well-to-do background

  • Manet was born into a prosperous upper middle class family.
  • After his fathers death in 1862 he inherited a considerable fortune that made him independently wealthy.
  • He trained in the standard Academic system but it frustrated him.
  • He hated the artificial studio light and artificial poses of the models.
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A new direction in art

  • Manets art took a new direction when he rejected some of the Academic values.
  • Instead of a light source from one side, he chose a direct source like sunlight that made strong colour contrasts and exaggerated light and darkness.
  • He left out the in-between grey tones and this tended to ‘flatten out’ his shadows.
  • This element of his work was greatly criticised, even ridiculed by the critics, when he exhibited.
  • Manets earlier paintings were worked with thick paint and dark backgrounds. This style was drawn from seventeenth-century Spanish artists like Velazquez.

Manet said: “I paint what I see and not what others choose to see”

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Absinthe Drinker

  • This was Manet’s first submission to the Salon of 1859.
  • It had a definite Spanish influence.
  • The subject of a down-and-out alcoholic in Paris was unacceptable to society and the jury rejected the painting.
  • Manet and the Paris Salon:
  • He never set out to be a rebel. He had the highest regard for the Paris Salon and wanted more than anything to make his name there.
  • This never changed throughout his life. Even when he suffered rejection and ridicule from the Salon, he respected the institution,
  • In 1861 his painting Spanish Singer was commended but this success was short lived.
  • For the next 20 years the Salon became his battleground; all his major submissions were completely rejected and this upset him greatly.
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Salon des Refuses:

  • In 1863 the Salon jury rejected an unusually large number of paintings.
  • As mentioned before, the Emperor Napoleon III intervened and declared that a separate exhibition of rejected work should be held, giving the public a chance to view the artworks and make up their own minds.
  • Manet exhibited a piece called Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe.
  • Spurred on by the media, people turned up at the Salon de Refuses to mock the work that the ‘experts’ had rejected.
  • Manet’s submissions caused particular outrage.
  • It is an adaption of a well-known Renaissance painting by Titian, Concert champetre.
  • In Manet’s modern interpretation, men in everyday modern dress are placed alongside a nude female.
  • The artwork caused a great scandal and became one of the most talked about works at the exhibition.
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A Modern Olympia:

  • This is another of Manet’s adaptations of a Renaissance painting. Here he uses a different work by Titian: Venus of Urbino.
  • Manet named his work Olympia but did not submit it to the Salon.
  • His friends persuaded him to put it forward for the next Salon in 1865.
  • The jury accepted the painting but Manet’s fears were confirmed.
  • The reaction from the public was one of real hatred. No one appreciated his fine painting methods, splendid colour harmonies and subtle simplification of light and shade.
  • The critics savaged the artwork and the jury ordered that it be moved to the top corner of the wall.
  • The woman in Olympia is nude. She is quite unlike the demure classical figure depicted in Titians painting.
  • This is a modern young woman with a neck-ribbon and bracelet.
  • She gaze at the viewer with a cool, confident stare.
  • The flat, dark background contrasts with the light skin tones.
  • A black cat appears in place of the quietly sleeping dog in Titians painting; this particularly irritated the critics.
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One critic said: ‘This model is puny, the bed covered with cats footprints, the general effect ugly, but that could be forgiven if it were truthful; even the least beautiful woman has bones, muscles, skin and

Some sort of colour, whereas on this woman the flesh colour is dirty and the modelling non-existent.

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Manet’s character

  • Manet was shattered by the harsh criticisms of his work.
  • Because of the reaction to Olympia, he never again tried this kind of imagery and yet his work continued to cause controversy.
  • Because of the controversy surrounding Manet’s work, people tended to think that he was a rough , revolutionary type.
  • This was very far from the truth and he was known for his elegance and charm.
  • He had a cutting wit but his friends all spoke of his goodness and generosity of spirit.
  • Even the critics stressed his ‘agreeable character and correct appearance.’
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Association with the Impressionists

  • Manet mixed in the artistic circles that gathered in the cafes of Paris.
  • Younger painters regarded him as the leader of the revolt against the traditions of French art.
  • Claude Monet and other members of the Impressionist group tried to get him to join them.
  • Manet admired and encouraged the Impressionists but consistently refused to exhibit with them.
  • He was, however, influenced by the groups innovations in painting.
  • They encouraged him to use colour instead of grey or black, particularly in shadow and to observe the effect of light on water.
  • Manet was happy to play the part of modern master to younger artists but continued to suffer from rejection to the Salon.
  • His name was now linked with the Impressionists and he received the same hostile reviews that they suffered.
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The Bar at the Folies-Bergere

  • This is one of the best known of Manet’s paintings.
  • The Folies-Bergere attracted a wide audience, particularly men on the look out for casual relationships.
  • Manet persuaded one of the barmaids to pose in his studio.
  • Every detail in the painting has been rendered with meticulous realism.
  • A huge mirror in the background reflects the crowd of people gathered together talking and drinking.
  • This painting brought Manet the recognition he had sought. He received a medal of honour and this meant automatic acceptance to the salon.
  • Acceptance came late as by the time he was given the medal he was very ill. He died at 51.
  • Five years later at the international exhibition his work was greatly admired.