How I love to immerse myself in the times, pre-occupations and paintings of great artists! Of course Manet came from a wealthy background, no struggling in a garret for him. The most popular painting, featured on the posters, ‘Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets’ lived up to expectations – a beautiful young woman in a fashionable black dress and hat.
She eventually married Manet’s younger brother. But ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergere’ is also a painting that most people know from reproductions that have appeared over the years. It really does conjure up the opulence of the era.
This exhibition mainly features Manet’s portraits, some striking in the vibrancy of his palette, others particularly of his wife, softer, partly portraits and partly studies of her role in urban life. His wife’s illegitimate son was also a model for many paintings which would appear to bring to life his role as a family man.
Manet was very well connected within the world of art and music. His painting of ‘Music in the Tuilleries’ depicts friends, artists, authors, and musicians and he has included a self-portrait among the subjects. This painting even has a room of it’s own with reproductions so that visitors can work out who is who.
I really liked the painting of his wife and widowed mother sitting on a hill, which made me wonder, if it was not all about portraits, why other wonderful paintings such as ‘Berthe Morisot, The Cradle 1872’ and ‘The Grain’ had not been included. Both of these paintings are on display at the Musee d’Orsay, so perhaps a quick visit to Paris by Eurostar is beckoning!
The exhibition was a bit sparse. There was one huge wall taken up with a map of Paris, much of another room had been made into a reference room with desks and books.
Apparently Manet did a great many pastels in later life, unfortunately, however, not many were featured in this exhibition but I was intrigued that two on display were done on canvas.
Artists including Manet lived through wars and other great upheavals in France. It is always a surprise to me that so many artists could continue with their creative lives during such times and for their work to be on show today.
I took my sons to Paris when they were just 15 and 16, to visit an old friend of my father’s. My first visit had taken place when I was 8 and it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. By the time my sons and I had done the Eifel Tower, wandered the Louvre, travelled along the Seine and of course visited the Follies I think they may have felt the same.
I was so glad to be out and about again! London is still the love of my life, well that’s when I’m not in Paris of course!
24 hours in Paris – by Eurostar. I made this a while ago but still like it!
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I think it lasts all of 5 minutes.
The Manet exhibition has just started, so plenty of time to book, or if you are a friend to go more than once!