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Edouard Manet

 (1832 - 1883)
Edouard Manet was active/lived in France.  Edouard Manet is known for impressionist painting-female figure.

Edouard Manet

    mah-NAY  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Edouard Manet
Edouard Manet was born in Paris, France on January 29, 1832.  His mother, Eugenie-Desiree Fournier, was a woman of refinement and god daughter of Charles Bernadotte, the Crown Prince of Sweden.  His father was a magistrate in the Ministry of Justice.  Manet was assumed to be destined for a similar career, but failed several times in his entrance requirements for Normal College.  Finally, in 1850, he entered the school of the fashionable painter, Couture, which he attended more or less sporadically until 1856.  He and Couture did not get along particularly well.

The school of Impressionism based itself chiefly on the work of Manet.  But his work was such a radical change from the popular work of the time that his entries to the Salon for the years 1859,1863 and 1865, were subjects for a storm of abuse.  Manet did not begin painting out-of-doors until about 1870.  His most ardent defender, Emile Zola, was obliged to resign from his post on "Figaro" because of his editorial support of the painter.  By 1881 Manet finally achieved public recognition and, among other awards, received the Legion of Honor.

Manet was witty, kind and handsome, a gentleman who would only be vulgar intentionally.  He was a student of the surface of life, a lover of women, both clothed and unclothed, an advocate of light, an innovator of the use of form and color.  He was a little older than most of the other artists in the Impressionist group, he belonged to the upper bourgeoisie, and he had more financial independence than any other artist associated with that group except Degas.  About 1862, Manet had
encountered by chance a lively and attractive young woman who was to be his favorite model until 1875.  Her name was Victorine Meurent, and she appears to have had a remarkable ability to adapt her appearance to any costumes or poses that the artist suggested.  He was often ridiculed for the changes in painting he brought about, but he couldn't paint studio nudes in various shades of tobacco juice, as was the custom of the day.

Suzanne Leenhoff, a young, attractive Dutch girl from whom he had taken piano lessons, and Manet were married in October 1863, although their liaison had begun some thirteen years earlier.  How they met was a matter of speculation; it is generally accepted that Leon Leenhoff, born to Suzanne in 1852, was Manet's son, although in polite society he was known as her brother.

Berthe Morisot, among the artists who became known as impressionists, was also a good friend and loyal follower of Manet.  She often posed for him.  Later she married Manet's brother Eugene.  Between 1860 and 1874 Manet painted eleven portraits of Morisot; she was adorned with veils, ribbons and fans which scholars attributed to his fondness for Spanish costume.  Another theory is that Manet harbored a personal infatuation for Morisot as well as a deep professional jealousy.  He ceased to paint her after she married.

As he began to age, Manet began to devote more and more time to working in pastels, a medium that required less sustained effort than oil painting.  He became increasingly racked with pain and it was thought that his problem was severe rheumatism.  Manet left Paris in the summer of 1880 for the neighboring suburb of Bellevue, renowned for its agreeable villas and for its waters.  He painted the last of eleven paintings of his wife during this period.  After his death on April 30, 1883, the first comprehensive exhibition of his paintings was held at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Written and submitted, Jean Ershler Schatz artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

The Annenberg Collection
Masterpieces of Impressionsm and Post-Impressionism
Masterpieces of Art: Catalogue of the New York World's Fair 1940; Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: Manet also French Impressionists; ARTnews, November 1999
The Master of the High Style by Mark Stevens in Newsweek Magazine, September 12, 1983
Time magazine, March 8,1949
From the internet: The, Edouard Manet, and Electric Library

Biography from Modern Art Dealers
Edouard Manet was a French painter and one of the first nineteenth century artists to approach modern-life subjects.  He is considered to have been a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.  Some of his early works engendered great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism.

Although well educated, Manet did not particularly excel within the academic environment, but he showed a propensity toward drawing and the arts.  His Uncle Charles Fournier encouraged Manet's appreciation for the arts and often took him and his childhood friend, Antonin Proust, on outings to the Louvre.

In 1850 after serving in the merchant marines, Manet entered the studio of Thomas Couture where he studied until 1856.  He was influenced by the Old Masters, particulary Velazquez and Goya, but Manet reasoned that ones art should reflect ideas and ideals of the present rather then the past.  So disagreeing with Diderot's theory that great art only reflected the costume of the past, Manet sought instead to follow the advice of depict a contemporary realism, to be "le peintre de la vie moderne."

Throughout his oeuvre Manet painted modern day life, yet many of his paintings are so much more than simple mimetic depictions.  If Manet's work seems to be full of contradictions, or to employ a lack of perspective from time to time, then perhaps that was the true reality of Paris in Manet's time.  Always controversial, Manet sought to record the days of his life using his own unique vision.  From beggars, to prostitutes, to the bourgeoisie he sought to be true to himself and to reproduce "not great art, but sincere art."

Edouard Manet died in Paris on April 30, 1883.

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About  Edouard Manet

Born:  1832 - Paris, France
Died:   1883 - Paris, France
Known for:  impressionist painting-female figure