Edouard Manet Bio

Edouard Manet, French (1832 - 1883)

Known as one of the most controversial artists in his time,Édouard Manet has risen above his detractors to prove his genuine talent that is worthy of emulation. With several paintings that have inspired young artists during that era, he revealed how innovation is not always welcomed by the society, but it is one's gateway to the future. Discover the man who have lived through numerous criticisms to bring himself at the pinnacle of is success.

Manet was born on January 23, 1832, to an affluent family. He showed a desire to become an artist at an early age and was encouraged to do so.

His early works were inspired by Gustave Courbet, who was a realist artist. Most of Manet's artworks during the mid 1850s depicted contemporary themes and everyday life situations including bullfights, people in pavement cafes, singers, and Gypsies. His brush strokes were also rather loose, and the details were quite simplified and lacked much transitional tones.

However, he progressed from these themes and created artworks that were more of historical and religious in nature. According to critics, Manet's paintings had strange and less precise appearance, when compared side by side with other paintings featured at the Salon. However, it was his unique style that caused intrigue, excitement and fascination among young artists who began to see his artworks in a whole new light.

Manet gained the approval of juries for the Salon, when he submitted The Spanish Singer, his painting that earned him an honorable mention there.

Manet came across numerous critics during the 1860s. When the Salon des Refuses was formed, he decided to display his paintings that shocked several people. Primarily, it was the artist's odd choice of subjects that bewildered critics such as the appearance of nude or barely-dressed women in his paintings. They were not impressed by Manet's style, despite his originality and uniqueness. This has led to more attacks and negativity toward the artist's artworks.

The same comments were cast upon his other artworks, particularly those that depicted modern scenes. Olympia, one of his most controversial paintings, disappointed most art critics not only because of the theme but Manet's way of presenting the subject. The image of a nude woman in that painting did not seem acceptable or decent enough to the eyes and perception of these critics. While "Olympia" was the subject of caricatures in the popular press, it was championed by the French avant-garde community, and the painting's significance was appreciated by artists such as Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and later Gauguin, and Van Gogh.

Manet's paintings were influenced by the Impressionist, yet he was uninterested in becoming involved with exhibitions during this era in art. He was more keen on displaying his works at the Salon. Although Manet was also fond of using lighter colors, his paintings often had a hint of black, which was not typical in most paintings during his time.

His last work was called A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, which was displayed at the Salon, in 1882. Prior to that year, he received a special award from the French Government, which was the Légion d'honneur. It was one of the highest form of recognition that he has received throughout his life.

He remained passionate about art even until his untimely death, in 1883. Besides 420 paintings, Manet left behind a reputation that would forever define him as the first of the moderns, and a bold, influential artist.


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