‘Manet: Portraying Life’ – very disappointing ?

Manet: Portraying Life’ has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Toledo Museum of Art and is the first ever retrospective devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet. The exhibition consists of more than 50 of his works, a vast number of which were ‘never exhibited in his lifetime’ (and maybe should never have been exhibited).

Manet’s ‘Olympia’ is one of my all time favorite paintings but…

If you were not already familiar with Manet’s painting I think you would get the wrong impression from this exhibition – the quality of the majority of the paintings is ‘second rate’ at best and most definitely not typical of his work.  This exhibition has done him a massive injustice, threatening his status as an important innovator. He is one of the greatest artists ever but this exhibition portrays him as a mediocre one – a massive shame.

I think you have to view this exhibition as ‘work in progress’ or ‘paintings to be resolved.

The painting of  Berthe Morisot  is one of the ‘stars’ of the show and does the man credit. Morisot herself is credited with convincing Manet to attempt plein air painting, she also  became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugene…

I wish I’d painted this (maybe?)

Manet’s Olympia (which is in the Musée d’Orsay) is an important painting. In 1974 at Stourbridge College of Art I did a series of paintings based on ‘Page 3 models’ and I was intrigued how Manet’s Olympia … Continue reading →