This stunning examination of the last years of Édouard Manet’s life and career is the first book to explore the transformation of his style and subject matter in the 1870s and early 1880s. The name Manet evokes the provocative, heroically scaled pictures he painted in the 1860s for the Salon, but in the late 1870s and early 1880s the artist produced quite a different body of work: stylish portraits of actresses and demimondaines, luscious still lifes, delicate pastels, intimate watercolors, and impressionistic scenes of suburban gardens and Parisian cafés. Often dismissed as too pretty and superficial by critics, these later works reflect Manet’s elegant social world, propose a radical new alignment of modern art with fashionable femininity, and record the artist’s unapologetic embrace of beauty and visual pleasure in the face of death.
Featuring nearly three hundred illustrations and nine fascinating essays by established and emerging Manet specialists, a technical analysis of the late Salon painting Jeanne (Spring), a selection of the artist’s correspondence, a chronology, and more, Manet and Modern Beauty brings a diverse range of approaches to bear on a little-studied area of this major artist’s oeuvre.
This volume is published to accompany exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago May 26 to September 8, 2019 and the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center October 8, 2019, to January 12, 2020.