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Clair de lune sur le port de Boulogne, 1869

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Artist Manet, Édouard For the summer of 1869 (1868 according to Proust, whose datings are not always reliable), Manet and his family took rooms on the second floor of the Hotel Folkestone, overlooking the harbour , and there he worked on a series of views form his window, of which this is one.
The presence of the group of women in Boulonnais headdress on the quay, waiting to take the catch to the fish market indicates that the boats have returned from the night’s fishing . This prosaic scene Manet transformed into a mysterious, dramatic chiaroscuro reminiscent of seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish nocturnal landscapes and of the moolit seasapes of Joseph Vernet, which were then on view at the Louvre. Furthermore, it is known that Manet himself owned a clair de lune by Van Der Neer, because he offered it to Haro for the Salamanca sale in 1867: “ I see advertised a Salamanca sale to be held by you. Could you put in a first-rate little Van der Neer of mine, representing a moonlight scene?” And a few days later he wrote, “Since the catalogue is already out, I should prefer to await another opportunity.” Probably, therefore, he still had the painting in 1869
Some changes in the course of work on the canvas , revealed by X-ray (the moon was to first lower, and the dark silhouettes of boats at the right were added afterward), illustrate Manet’s care for composition and effect , taking a scene form fife and then reworking it in the studio.




Institution Musée d'Orsay
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 82 x 101 cm













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