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Edouard Manet 1832-1883 BACK


In the past Manet has been grouped with the Impressionists but his art is more Realist. It was Manet's attitude, use of strong flat color, harsh natural lighting, and the fresh raw appearance of his works that influenced the group of younger Impressionists. Manet was an extremely cultured and sophisticated man from a well-to-do background, yet he painted with a simplicity that is startling. Ironically it was the very power and reality of Manet's paintings that made them fail. He shocked the critics and the public with his modernity. Manet took Courbet's realism one step further, so blurring the boundary between objectivity and subjectivity that painting has never recovered from this quiet revolution.

The roughly painted style and photographic lighting in these works was seen as specifically modern, and as a challenge to the Renaissance works Manet updated. His work is considered 'early modern', in part 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, in part through his sister-in-law Berthe Morisot, who was a member of the group. Eva Gonzalès was his only formal student.

Unlike the core impressionist group, Manet consistently believed that modern artists should seek to exhibit at the Paris Salon rather than abandon it. Though 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 of his disapproval of their opposition to the salon system. 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 the exhibition, 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.

Self-portrait with palette.He was influenced by the impressionists, especially Monet, and to an extent Morisot. Their impact is seen in Manet's use of lighter colors, but he retained his distinctive use of blocks 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.

Throughout his life, though 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.








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Image List

Portrait of Monsieur and Madame Manet, 1860

Olympia, 1863

The Fifer, 1866

Luncheon in the Studio, 1868

Portrait of Stephane Mallarme, 1876





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This listing of artists is not official. It is merely intended to group the artists in an easy to navigate format.

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