University of Houston-Victoria



Édouard Manet

French, 1832-1883

Although ridiculed in his day for inadequate linear perspective, lack of spirituality, and controversial subject matter, Édouard Manet is considered by many art historians to be the father of Modernism.

Technically his paintings are remarkable for their loose brushstrokes, nuanced color, unusual cropping, and sense of light. His most famous and oft-satirized painting, Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1861) was rejected from the 1861 Salon for its shocking content: a nude woman enjoying a picnic with two fully clothed men, while a second nearly-nude woman bathes in a stream.

In 1865, depressed by Paris’s response to his art, Manet traveled to Spain and studied the art of Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Goya. Ironically, within a year of his premature death, the École des Beaux-Arts, the officially sanctioned art school in Paris, held a huge exhibition of his paintings, pastels, drawings, and prints.

Black and white painting of lady in period clothes
Édouard Manet
Berthe Morisot, 1872
Painting of a womans back as she looks in the mirror
Édouard Manet
Before the Mirror (Devant la glace) , 1876
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao