Friday, April 30, 2010

Remembering Édouard Manet

Today is the anniversary of the great French painter Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883).

Amongst the late 19th century French painters, my favorite is Édouard Manet, who was sometimes included in the category of Impressionist. Actually, I cannot really call him an impressionist, though he did live and was active during the time when Impressionism emerged and he did play a pivotal role in the transition from the Realism to Impressionism.

According to Wikipedia, "his early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia engendered great controversy, and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art."

I love the somber tones of his works, versus the insistent sunny effects of many impressionism practitioners chase after. His characters, even in close grouping, are lost in their own world. An overwhelming melancholy is always palpable. His masterly utilizing the color black is justly celebrated and has never been surpassed.

Portrait of Berthe Morisot, Edouard Manet
Portrait of Berthe Morisot

The Fifer, Edouard Manet
The Fifer

The balcony, Edouard Manet
The Balcony

Bar Girl, Edouard Manet
Bar Girl

Baudelaire's Mistress, Reclining, Edouard Manet
Baudelaire's Mistress, Reclining

When he suffered paralysis in his late life, he painted many still life paintings. Though small in scale, nothing else emitting from those canvases was small.

The Lemon, Edouard Manet
The Lemon

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