March 25, 2009

First Impressions #2 - Answer

Mystery Guest #2 is Edouard Manet 1832-1883. Not my mail-man Jim.

Although Manet never adopted the term Impressionist for himself, he got the whole Impressionism movement rolling. Manet introduced a new era of modern, urban, everyday subject matter which was a real revolution against the sensibilities of 19th Century Paris. Manet was so strikingly different from other painters of his time, and his art so iconoclastic, that guards had to protect his paintings from onlookers and critics. Manet was intensely ridiculed.

The 1863 the Paris Salon rejected Manet's large painting Le Dejeuner Sur l'Herbe, and Manet elected to have it shown at the Salon des Refusés, which had been created from the exceptionally large number of painters whose work had been turned away from the established Salon.

When Olympia was presented at the Paris Salon of 1865, Manet's painting attracted the most attention and created a kind of abusive criticism which was to set a pattern for years to come.

One gallery attendee stated,

"a wretched model picked up from heaven knows where"

Another declared,

"a sort of female gorilla"
Such rejection might have prompted Manet to say,
"The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me... People don't realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted”
Manet was short, handsome (according to my mother), always fashionably dressed and witty. Manet’s biographers stress his kindness and generosity towards his colleagues. One story illustrates Manet's delightful wit. When a pleased collector paid an additional 200 francs for his Bunch of Asparagus, Manet painted a single asparagus spear, and sent it along with a note that read: "There was one missing from your bunch."

Today, I’ll hazard a guess, and say that most people could name or identify at least one work by Edouard Manet, be it: Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe; A Bar at the Folies Bergere, Olympia, the Fifer, or his portrait of Zola. I have an interesting story about the Fifer, but that will have to wait for another day.

Two great books I’ve read that detail Manet’s trials and tribulations at the Paris Salon are Ross King’s,
The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism, published by Walker & Company, 2006 and Olympia: Paris in the Age of Manet by Otto Friedrich, Touchstone, 1993.

1st image of Manet by Fantin-Latour
2nd image of Manet by Degas


Ima Wizer said...

Wonderful! Thank you!! I love these art history lessons!

giulia said...

Thank you, Hazel. Once again, I was wrong. Once again, illuminating & inspiring post. Last evening I was flipping through two vintage photography books & saw that a few pix were quite obviously based on both Olympia & about interconnectedness (previous post).

Back later to further investigate links. Thanks for your comments. I agree about the ruffly ranunculous & Tintin:)

xo, svs

Beth Ahrens-Kley said...

A lovely presentation, if I could put a flower (to send you) here I would!

willow said...

Aak!! I was wrong! I could have sworn he was Klimt. I need to brush up on my art history!

This is so much fun, Hazel. :^)

The Clever Pup said...

Hey Willow, Klimt is just a little bit crazier looking. A picture can be seen at the link below.

"Blog Artists" said...

They all looked the same back then...thanks for the History lesson...I love these quizzes!

Penney said...

the bar painting is a favorite of mine..thank you!
Just Penneys

Poetikat said...

That's where the quote led me.