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A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882
|Artist||Manet, Édouard||It is instructive to compare this serene masterpiece of Manet’s last years with the small oil sketch he had done previously (see the previous picture). Manet intended to set down as spontaneously as he could a momentary impression, including its image in a mirror. With quick strokes of heavily loaded brush he accented the animation of the passing show. Except for the rather subdued colour, here is the very essence of the Impressionists point of view.
When Manet came to consider the final composition, he regarded Impressionism as no more than a means to an end: to express himself in formally disciplined and traditionally durable terms, as in his work of the ‘sixties. Observe what liberties he has taken with appearance, how he has rearranged what he saw in order to clarify what he felt.
Is the reflected girl the same person who occupies the centre of the picture? If so, Manet has shifted his own position as spectator, and thereby destroyed forever the illusion of a single moment in time. This is perhaps the major difference between the impact of the sketch and the final work.
|Institution||Courtauld Institute Galleries, London|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||96 x 130 cm|