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Manet vs. Monet

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I. The Early Days of Manet and Monet

Edouard Manet and Claude-Oscar Monet are both painter of the same era.

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Edouard Manet was born on January 29, 1832, and after eight years another talented painter is born, Claude-Oscar Monet born on the 14th of November 1840. Edouard Manet was born in the ranks of Parisian bourgeoisie, while Claude-Oscar Monet was baptized in the local Paris church of Notre Dame de Lorette; his parents were Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet who was a singer, both second-generation Parisian, unlike Manet’s parents who are known-well persons, His Mother, Eugenie-Desiree Fournier was a woman of refinement and god daughter of Charles Bernadotte, the Crown Prince of Sweden.

And his Father Auguste Manet was a magistrate and judge. Both fathers of this talented artist wanted their sons to take a different path in life aside from painting and arts, Manet’s father want his son to follow his footsteps to become a magistrate and judge, while Monet’s father wants him to be in the family store business.

Edouard is a well educated man but unfortunately he did not particularly excel within the academic environment but still he showed his proclivity towards drawing and the arts. Charles Fournier his uncle was the one who encourage Edouard appreciation for the arts and often took him and his childhood friend, Antonin Proust, on the outings to the Louvre. Edouard entered Thomas Coulture’s studio where he studied for six long years. After serving the merchant marines in 1850, He was influence by the old masters, like Velazquez and Goya, but Edouard believes that ones art should reflect ideas and ideas of the present rather than the past. So disagreeing with Diderot’s theory that great art only reflected the costume of the past, Manet sought instead to follow the advice of Baudelaire…to depict a contemporary realism, to be “le peintre de la vie moderne.” .On the first day of April 1851, Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts. Were he first became known locally for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques-François Orchard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857 he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet “en plein air” (outdoor) techniques for painting. His Mother died in January 28 1857, he was 16 at that time and he had to left school and went to live his widowed childless aunt Marie-Jeanne Lecadre.


II. Their Humble Beginnings and Their Works

Monet traveled to Paris to visit “The Louvre”, were he witnessed several painters copying from the old masters, just exactly Monet had brought his paints and tools with him so instead he sit by the window and paint what he saw. On the other hand Manet started his career with his first masterpiece in 1858 “The Absinthe Drinker”, this painting shows a wicked and solitary man amongst the shadow of the back streets of Paris. Meanwhile Monet was in Paris for quite long years and eventually met several fellow painters and Impressionists who would become friends, and one of them was Edouard Manet. Monet joined the first Regiment of African Light Calvary in Algeria for two years out of a seven years commitment, but due to his contracting typhoid his aunt Madame Lecadre intervened to get him out of the army if he agree to complete an art at a university, Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind would probably the one who prompted this mater to his aunt. Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris in 1862, where he met a couple of fellow artist such as Pierré-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley, and together they shared new approaches towards art, and created the effects of light “en plein air” with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, and later on came to be known as “impressionism”.

And in that same year Manet made “La Musique aux Tuileries”, friends and family members celebrated society. His loose handling of paint and lack of subject separated this painting from the highly finished canvasses approved by the academy, and accepted by the “snapshot”, quality taken up so well by Degas , and develop further by the impressionist.  Spanish Guitar Player, also painted in 1862, reflected the Parisian love of “all things Spanish” and was one of Manet’s first works to be accepted by the Salon. It now hangs on the walls of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Manet put great emphasis on Salon acceptance. In fact, he believed that success as an artist could only be obtained through recognition at the Salon. Ironically, however, it was not Spanish Guitar Player which brought him his much sought after recognition but the rejected Dejeuner sur l’herbe in 1863. The Salon jury of 1863 had been exceptionally brutal and thousands of paintings had been refused. To counter these refusals, the Salon des Refuses was established and it was here that Dejeuner sur l’herbe (also known as the Luncheon on the Grass) was exhibited. Although influenced by Raphael and Giorgione, Dejeuner did not bring Manet laurels and accolades. It brought criticism. Critics found Dejuener to be anti-academic and politically suspect and the ensuing fire storm surrounding this painting has made Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe a benchmark in academic discussions of modern art. The nude in Manet’s painting was no nymph or mythological being…she was a modern Parisian women cast into a contemporary setting with two clothed man. Many found this to be quite vulgar and begged the question “Who’s for lunch?” The critics also had much to say about Manet’s technical abilities. His harsh frontal lighting and elimination of mid tones rocked ideas of traditional academic training. And yet, it is also important to understand that not everyone criticized Manet, for it was also Dejeuner which set the stage for the advent of Impressionism. “Olympia”, also painted in 1863, caused a similar uproar and the controversy surrounding these two paintings truly dismayed Manet. It was not at all his intention to create a scandal.


III. Their Significant Others and the Struggles

Manet was not a radical artist, such as Courbet; nor was he a bohemian, as the critics had thought. Recently married to Suzanne Leenhoff, the well mannered and well bred Manet was an immaculately groomed member of high society. As Henri Fantin-Latour’s Portrait of Manet suggests – this man was the quintessential Parisian flaneur. But Manet’s unique technical innovations intrigued the likes of Pierre Renoir and Claude Monet and set free the traditional and conservative reigns of academic painting. Monet painted “Camille” or “The Woman in the Greed Dress” (La Femme à la Robe Verte), which brought him a recognition as well, featuring his future wife Camille Doncieux, who immediately became pregnant and bore their first child name Jean in 1868, but due to financial reasons, Monet attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Seine. Monet and Camille Doncieux had married just before the war June 28, 1870 and, after their excursion to London and Zaandam, they had moved into a house in Agential near the Seine River in December 1871. She became ill in 1876. They had a second son, Michel, on March 17, 1878, (Jean was born in 1867). This second child weakened her already fading health. In that same year, he moved to the village of Vétheuil. At the age of thirty-two, Madame Monet died on 5 September 1879 of tuberculosis; Monet painted her on her death bed





IV. Impressions of War

Political events between the years 1867-1871 were turbulent ones for Paris, and the Franco-Prussian war left Paris besieged and defeated. Manet turned his eye to these events in his works entitled Execution of Maximilian, Civil War and The Barricade. In 1870, Manet sent his family south to protect them from the fighting in Paris and signed on as a gunner in the National Guard. There is much primary documentation in the form of letters to family and friends who express Manet’s horror and dismay at the war and these paintings stand as testaments to Manet’s sentiments. After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July 19, 1870, Monet took refuge in England in September 1870. While there, he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whose landscapes would serve to inspire Monet’s innovations in the study of color. In the spring of 1871, Monet’s works were refused to be included in the Royal Academy exhibition.” The Execution of Maximilian” reaches out to Goya’s “Third of May” but despite its masterly influence the painting was banned from being exhibited in Paris due to the “Frenchness” of the executioner’s costume. And yet along with his expressions of political disillusionment, Manet also continued producing works such as “The Balcony”,” Portrait of Emile Zola “, and” The Railroad”. In 1872 or 1873, he painted “Impression, Sunrise” (Impression: soleil Levant) depicting a Le Havre landscape. It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris. From the painting’s title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term “Impressionism”, which he intended to be derogatory; however the Impressionists appropriated the term for themselves




By 1874 Manet’s reputation as experimental artist and leader of the Impressionists was firmly established. The Cafe Guerbois, near Manet’s studio became the gathering spot for Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Degas and Pissaro and although Manet presided over the regular meeting and debates held at the cafe, he was not enthusiastic about his role as leader of the avant-garde. In 1874, when the Impressionists held their first exhibition at Nadar’s studio, Manet refused to participate. He chose instead to remain focused on the Salon. He never exhibited in any of the eight Impressionist exhibitions and yet by no means did Manet abandon the Impressionists. He worked closely with Monet in Argenteuil during 1874 and often gave financial support to his friends who needed it. It was during this time that Manet came closest to painting in the Impressionist style. Painting en plein air Argenteuil and Monet’s Boat Studio both approach the notions of reflected light and atmosphere of Impressionism but Manet never becomes assimilated into the true Impressionist style.

V. Never to be mired in Poverty

After several difficult months following the death of Camille, a grief stricken Monet resolving never to be mired in poverty again, began in earnest to create some of his best paintings of the 19th century. During the early 1880’s Monet painted several groups of landscapes and seascapes in what he considered to be campaigns to document the French countryside. His extensive campaigns evolved into his series’ paintings. Monet moved into the home of Ernest Hoschedé, a wealthy department store owner and patron of the arts. After her husband was bankrupted, Alice Hoschedé, continued to live in their home in Poissy with Monet and helped to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel, alongside her own six children. They were Blanche, Germaine, Suzanne, Marthe, Jean-Pierre, and Jacques. In April 1883 they moved to Vernon, then to a house in Giverny, Eure, in Upper Normandy, where he planted a large garden where he painted for much of the rest of his life. Following the death of her estranged husband, Alice Hoschedé married Claude Monet in 1892. In the 1880s and 1890s, Monet worked on “series” paintings, in which a subject was depicted in varying light and weather conditions. His first series exhibited as such was of Haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day. Fifteen of the paintings were exhibited at the Durand-Ruel in 1891. He later produced series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral, poplars, the Houses of Parliament, mornings on the Seine, and the water-lilies on his property at Giverny.Monet was exceptionally fond of painting controlled nature: his own garden in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine.

VI. Final Hours of Manet

In his last great masterpiece, Bar at the Folies-Bergère , Manet returns again to studio painting, a somber palette and eliminated mid tones. The cafe concert is a theme which Manet had been treating in the late 70’s in paintings such as Corner in a Cafe Concert and The Cafe. But here at bar at the Folies-Bergere, we are no longer spectators, but participants in the painting. While the Barmaid occupies the center of the piece, the painting is filled with a menagerie of characters from seated couples to trapeze artists. Glittering chandeliers and electric lights fill the upper portion of the work. Here, as in Dejeuner sur l’herbe, optical contradictions abound.
Throughout his oeuvre Manet painted modern day life, yet many of his paintings are so much more than simple mimetic depictions. If Manet’s work seems to be full of contradictions, or to employ a lack of perspective from time to time, then perhaps that was the true reality of Paris in Manet’s time. Always controversial, Manet sought to record the days of his life using his own unique vision. From beggars, to prostitutes, to the bourgeoisie he sought to be true to himself and to reproduce “not great art, but sincere art.” He died, in Paris, on April 30, 1883.

VII. Final Hours of Monet

Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series — views of Parliament and views of Charring Cross Bridge. His wife Alice died in 1911 and his oldest son Jean, who had married Alice’s daughter Blanche, Monet’s particular favorite, died in 1914. After his wife died, Blanche looked after and cared for him. It was during this time that Monet began to develop the first signs of cataracts.

During World War I, in which his younger son Claude served and his friend and admirer Clemenceau led the French nation, Monet painted a series of Weeping Willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers. Cataracts formed on Monet’s eyes, for which he underwent two surgeries in 1923. The paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye, this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations he even repainted some of these paintings, with bluer water lilies than before the operation.

Monet died of lung cancer on December 5, 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple; thus about fifty people attended the ceremony.

VIII. Work Cited:

T.J. Clark, the Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers
Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1984.

Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History
Thames and Hudson, Inc., NY, 1996.

Alan Krell, Manet, World of Art Series
Thames and Hudson, NY, 1996

Phoebe Pool, Impressionism, World of Art Series
Thames and Hudson, NY 1991











Cite this Manet vs. Monet

Manet vs. Monet. (2017, Mar 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/manet-vs-monet/

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