Edouard Manet

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Édouard Manet, born January 23, 1832, in Paris, France, was a popular painter known for being one of the 19th-century pioneers of modern life painting. Born into an affluent family with certain expectations, Manet chose to follow his dream of becoming an artist instead. To obtain his dream, he enrolled in Collѐge Rollin to pursue an art program. During his early adulthood, Manet travelled around Europe and became influenced by painters such as Frans Hals, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco José de Goya. He opened his first art studio in 1856 and used a style of relaxed brush strokes to simplify the details in his paintings, now known as Impressionism.

Manet played a key role in the evolution from Realism painting to Impressionism. Two of his most popular paintings include those from his early career, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe1863) and Olympia (1865), both of which Manet painted using this newfound technique involving painting with individual and purposely visible brush strokes. Both works of art, while they had many supporters, generated a lot of criticism from others. Many found the clothed men in The Luncheon on the Grass seemingly ignoring the naked woman offensive, as was the case with the Olympia portraying the naked woman as a prostitute. However, these pieces inspired younger artists to begin using Impressionism in their own artwork.

Music in the Tuileries (1862) is another early piece of work showing off Manet’s unique painting style. Many disliked Manet’s art due to the noticeable brush strokes, while others indicated the ambience of the painting shows a perception of what the Tuileries gardens truly offered. Unlike The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, there is no nudity in the painting. Instead, Monet painted some important figures of his life, including friends and other artists.

Manet married Suzanne Leenoff, a Dutch piano teacher, in 1963, the year following his father’s death. Manet’s father, Auguste, hired Leenhoff to teach Manet and his brother how to play the piano.  Leenoff’s first child, born out of wedlock in 1852 and named Leon Koella, could have been the son of Auguste as she was allegedly his mistress. It is unknown if Manet or Auguste fathered the child. Manet considered Leenoff his muse and depicted her in several paintings, most notably The Reading (c. 1865-1973) and Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (Berthe Morisot au bouquet de violettes, 1872).