EDOUARD MANET (1832 - 1883)

Biography

Édouard Manet (French, born January 23, 1832–died April 30, 1883) is considered one of the most important French painters of the late 19th century, renowned for his portraits of modern Parisian life, and his ability to draw on the aesthetics and subject matter of both Realism and Impressionism. Born in Paris to a well-to-do family, as a child Manet was more interested in art than any other academic discipline, and later enrolled to work in the studio of painter Thomas Couture (French, 1815–1879). At a time when Paris was undergoing major changes in its infrastructure, architecture, and economy, Manet chose to focus on modern subject matter in his work, depicting scenes ranging from the Parisian bourgeoisie to beggars, prostitutes, and the destruction wrought by the Franco-Prussian war.

Throughout the 1860s, many of his works were rejected by the Salon, and inspired great controversy among critics due to some of his most famous paintings, including Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (1862–1863) and Olympia (1863). Though Manet did not intend to create a reputation as a provocateur, he was nonetheless revolutionary in his portrayal of modern subjects, his use of uneven brushstrokes, and the photographic quality of his works, playing an important role in the development of the new French avant-garde. Manet remained a leader among the Impressionist circle throughout the 1870s, though he did not exhibit his work with them, choosing instead to exhibit independently after further rejections by the Salon. Among his earliest champions were Emile Zola (French, 1840–1902), Charles Baudelaire (French, 1821–1867), and famous dealer Paul Durand-Ruel; towards the end of his life, he held several solo exhibitions, and began exhibiting his work in the Salon, including his famous Bar at the Folies-Bergères (1882). In 1881—two years before his death—he was awarded the French Legion of Honor. Manet’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.





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