Atelier Gleyre, Manet Sisley, Renoir and Bazille


In the year in which he pointed the "Lola", Manet rented a ramshackle studio in the Batignolles quarter. He continued to visit the Louvre, where he made the acquaintance of Berthe Morisot; he also came across Degas, who was engaged in copying Velázquez's Infanta, and exclaimed to him: "What audacity, my dear man!" In the following year he married Suzanne Leenhoff. With her, after the death of his father, he went to live in the Rue Saint-Pétersbourg, at his mother's house. At the Galerie Martinet on the Boulevard des Italiens he exhibited a few pictures. These made a great impression on certain young painters, especially on the young Claude Manet, and also on others who had met at the Atelier Gleyre and become friends, namely Sisley, Renoir and Bazille.
Most of the painters, however, together with the critics and the general public, were averse to his pictures or, worse still, abused and derided them. The tendency of the time was to emphasize the most popular categories of plastic values, those of expression and feeling, whereas Manet displayed the highest and least accessible category of artistic values--the melodic values--in a new and unaccustomed manner. The spectators sought for something in the pictures which the artist did not want to give. They focused their attention on the subject, which was miles away from Manet and did not interest him. Even his values of colour and harmony were not understood. ( Delacroix was not at all popular.) The grey tones appealed to few. ( Corot was at that time not universally accepted.) The melodic values, with which the greatness of Manet ultimately reached its zenith, were completely incomprehensible to all. It is possible to imagine Couture's Romans of the Decadence, but the illustrative elements in Manet's pictures seemed grotesque. Among the few admirers of "Lola de Valence" was Baudelaire, who wrote a verse in its honour which has become famous. He remained one of the fervent supporters of Manet, who painted a beautiful portrait of his friend Jeanne Duval, very much in the spirit of Baudelaire, which in a photograph looks like a work of Beardsley.


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