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Manet and Repose...

Eli Wilner & Company recently completed the frame restoration of Édouard Manet's painting, The Rest, in the collection of the Museum of Rhode Island School of Design. The painting, which depicts his friend Berthe Morisot, will be loaned to an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d'Orsay in 2023.

Édouard Manet. Eva Gonzalès. 1870. National Gallery London
Édouard Manet. Le repos. 1871. Rhode Island School Design Museum

This representation of Berthe Morisot, who was to marry Eugène Manet, Edouard's brother, shocked some visitors. They criticized the nonchalant pose, and the informal attire. Reverie, evoked by Berthe's gaze, contrasts with the violence of the subject (a pearl fisherman pursued by a dragon) in the Japanese print above her head. Manet described this painting as a study in physical and psychological rest - "not at all in the character of a portrait". Repose exemplifies Édouard Manet's radical style, through the mastery of contrasts of light and dark tones and the shrinking of space compressed by perspective.

Rolinda Sharples. L'artiste et sa mère. 1816. Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Édouard Manet. Portrait de Berthe Morisot étendue. 1873. Musée Marmottan Monet

Two years later, Manet produced this portrait of an astonishing presence which reveals the beauty and sensuality of Berthe Morisot. To capture all the dark and magnetic force of her eyes, Manet painted them black instead of the greenish ones they were”, making the young woman, as Jacques-Émile Blanche would say, “the Goya element” of the work of Manet.

Berthe Morisot kept this portrait all her life.


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In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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