Saturday, April 7, 2018

Edouard Manet (1832–83)

Edouard Manet was born in Paris at 5 rue des Petits-Augustins (now rue Bonaparte) on January 23, 1832. He was eldest son of Auguste Manet (1797-1862), a high-ranking civil servant in the Ministere de la Justice, and Eugenie-Desiree Fournier (1811-1895), the daughter of a French diplomat posted to Stockholm.

He had two brothers: Eugene, born a year later and Gustave, born in 1835. The Mantes were quite wealthy, and they love in a four-storey Left Bank apartment house across the street from L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the top art school in France at the time.

He was interested in drawing which his maternal uncle Edmond Fournier strongly supported and encouraged. Manet, a mediocre student at the Institute Poiloup, transfers to the fifth form of the Rollin School, where he meets An- tonin Proust, who becomes a lifelong friend. The two friends often visit the Louvre together, under the guidance of Fournier.

La femme au chat
In 1851, the two friends witnessed the boot coup d‘etat of Napoleon III. Manet sketches the dead on the street. Both are arrested during skirmished and detained for a few night.

Edouard Manet’s work contained elements of both Impressionism and Realism, put his own cat into some of his paintings. This comfortable moggie, the epitome of respectability, is seen, for instance, in La femme au chat, a portrait of Manet's wife.

Manet offered a glimpse of sophisticated Parisian society in his painting the Masked Ball at the Opera (1873). This work was supposedly inspired by the mass of masked young men and women who attended the centennial opening in Paris of The Marriage of Figaro, written by Pierre de Beaumarchais before the revolution.
Edouard Manet (1832–1883)

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