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Guillaume Durand's "Manet" rewarded

On November 3, the Renaudot Essay prize was awarded to Guillaume Durand for his book dedicated to Édouard Manet "Lunch on the Grass" published by Bouquins.

The son of gallery owners, the journalist confides that he has loved the painter and his works since his childhood and gives a personal and intimate journey in the life of Manet: "... Without him there would not have been the Impressionists. It's him, for example, who reintroduced black in the painting of his time. He is our Leonardo da Vinci, classic but revolutionary”

To illustrate this news, I give you a little known painting by Edouard Manet, "In the garden", dated 1870. In an abundant dress in white tones, the woman in the foreground gives the viewer a direct look borrowed from nostalgia. It seems to take us to witness a life already immersed in the maze of boredom. Painted seven years after "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" or even "Olympia", which had unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence against Manet, this painting manifestly reflects a form of transition towards a style that foreshadows Impressionism. The delicate touch of the face and hands, typical of Manet's style of the 1860s, contrasts with the treatment of the reclining man behind her, as well as the infant seated in a carriage, whose forms are only suggested by the skilful use color-light contrast.

Édouard Manet. Au jardin. 1870. Shelburne Museum Vermont
Édouard Manet. Au jardin. 1870. Shelburne Museum Vermont

With this painting from 1870, probably painted at the home of his friends De Nittis at La Jonchère, Édouard Manet really approaches outdoor painting. He had hardly ever set up his easel in nature before. The war is near. Unlike Monet, Pissarro or Daubigny who left for England, Manet remained in Paris where he was lieutenant of the National Guard, under the orders of Meissonier. Edgar Degas is engaged like him, as well as Frédéric Bazille who will be killed at the end of November at the battle of Beaune la Rolande.

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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