Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paintings I Like, pt. 53

Edouard Manet, Corner of a Cafe Concert, 1878-80. Oil on canvas, 39" x 31."

This is another painting I saw for the first time on a recent trip to the National Gallery in London. The eccentricity of the space and composition is owed at least in part to the fact that Manet worked on the picture for a while, then chopped it in half and added canvas to the right side - the seam is plainly visible in the picture. The left side of the painting resides at the Oskar Reinhart Collection in Switzerland.

The Impressionists admired the older Manet immensely. He never showed at any of their exhibitions, preferring instead to enter paintings into the more official and respectable salon, but by the late 1870's the Impressionists' colors started creeping into his palette. Manet's two very different color approaches are on display in this picture: the center has the blacks, greys and earth tones taken from his beloved Velazquez, and the blue smock, the orchestra, and especially the bottom-lit stage have the light colors and broken brushwork of Monet and early Renoir.