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Updated: Mar 10

Édouard Manet 1832-1883 , was born in Paris on 23 January 1832. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law, instead he pursued his interest in art. He broke new ground by defying traditional techniques of representation and by choosing subjects from modern urban settings and the events and circumstances of his own time and his lifelong interest in the subject of leisure. His Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), exhibited in 1863 , aroused the hostility of critics and the enthusiasm of the young painters who later formed the nucleus of the Impressionist group.

His style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and brilliant use of light and reflection. Manet's paintings of café scenes are observations of social life in 19th-century Paris. People are depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Many of these paintings were based on sketches executed on the spot. “I paint what I see, not what others want to see”, and by doing so, he is acknowledged as being the” Father of Modernism".

Although his own work influenced and anticipated the Impressionist style, he resisted involvement in Impressionist exhibitions .Manet became the friend and colleague of the artist, Berthe Morisot in 1868. Through her, he became friends with the Impressionists Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. She was a member of the group and drew him into their activities. Morisot had her first painting accepted in the Salon de Paris in 1864, and she continued to show in the salon for the next ten years. She is credited with convincing Manet to attempt Plein Air painting. They had a reciprocating relationship and Manet incorporated some of her techniques into his paintings. In 1874, she became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugène.

In the later stage of his life , and plagued with ill health , Manet moved away from his large scale paintings and created small jewel like paintings of solitary vases and flowers. These are some of his most beautiful works and represent best, the master that he was. His brilliant gift for light and illumination reflect in each delicate stroke. Techniques rarely seen in any other artist of the time.

Leading up to our final project we did studies and had discussions about light. My “art stars” did a brilliant job over several days, creating their flower paintings. I hope that you enjoyed their gift to you and that you are having a very nice holiday. Atticus and Amelia were not in class the final day and we were rushing to complete everything. My apologies to them for not having a photo of their finished projects. I am looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.

My Best,


 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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