12 Famous Paintings by Édouard Manet

famous paintings by Édouard Manet
Luncheon on the Grass, one of the famous paintings by Édouard Manet

These are the 12 most famous paintings by Édouard Manet.

Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was a French painter and printmaker who specialized in depicting daily life and metropolitan scenes. As one of the first nineteenth-century artists to study modern-day topics, he was a prominent figure in the transition from realism to impressionism.

The Luncheon on the Grass (1863)​​

Luncheon on the Grass, or Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe in his native French, is not only one of the most famous paintings by Édouard Manet, but it is also one of the all-time great works, in art history.

This is a painting of a naked woman surrounded by fully dressed males at the Salon des Refusés. It was considered an embarrassment at the time, not only because of the woman’s nakedness in comparison to the males but also because Manet used recognizable models for the figures in the painting.

The painting was particularly unusual in that it had a particular limitation in flatness.

Olympia (1863)

This is a painting of a naked woman in a leisure position with a servant delivering flowers. It’s regarded as one of the most scandalous famous paintings by Édouard Manet, because of Manet’s rethinking of the classic topic of female nudity and his technical execution.

The criticisms of Olympia had less to do with the model’s nakedness and more to do with the subject matter’s reality. The painting’s subject was very likely a prostitute.

Music in the Tuileries (1862)

This is a painting of fashionable, well-to-do Parisians smiling, mingling, and listening to music in the Tuileries Gardens, which are located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

It’s a significant piece of art that sheds light on the historical setting of Paris and contributed to the development of the Impressionist movement in the painting, which prioritizes color over overdrawing.

Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (1872)

This is a painting of a fellow painter, Berthe Morisot, clothed in a black mourning gown with a scarcely visible bouquet of violets.

The painting is also known as “Portrait of Berthe Morisot,” “Bertha Morisot in a Black Hat,” or “Young Woman in a Black Hat.” Manet painted the painter with black eyes, despite the fact that her eyes were green. 

Berthe Morisot would marry Édouard Manet’s brother, Eugène Manet, two years after this painting was complete.

The Café-Concert (1878)

This is a painting of men and women at Paris’s new brasseries and cafés, giving the viewer a different perspective on new Parisian life. It shows Paris’s conflicting socioeconomic classes.

Cafés were the places to go for contemporary discussion and socializing. In one place, both men and women, poor and rich, were interacting and enjoying the same entertainment.

The Races at Longchamp (1864)

This is a painting of the racetrack in the Bois de Boulogne, in the western suburbs of Paris.

It depicts the final seconds of a race, as the horses gallop over the finish line, which is marked by the pole with a round top. Unlike previous athletic artists, who usually showed races from the side, Manet was able to create a scene in which the throng of horses and jockeys thundered directly toward the observer.

Boating (1874)

Manet’s Boating is a painting of a man (perhaps Manet’s brother-in-law, Rodolphe Leenhoff) and an unknown lady rowing on the Seine River at Argenteuil, in the Paris suburbs. There is extensive use of sharp angles, with the angle of the black ribbon on the lady’s hat matching the angle of the rope that is attached to the sail. The overall perspective of the painting is extremely interesting, with a strong focus on the two-dimensional plane.

The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1867)

This is a painting of Emperor Maximilian I of the short-lived Second Mexican Empire being executed by firing squad. It represents a real occurrence with political importance. This is one of the rare artworks in which Manet attempts to achieve a dramatic impact, which highlights the climax of a well-known historical event.

The Railway (1873)

This is one of the famous paintings by Édouard Manet, depicting a vivid and attractive image of a woman with a small child looking directly with pleasure at the newly built railway lines in Paris.

The Railway is commonly referred to as the “Gare Saint-Lazare.” Contrasts are used throughout the artwork to neutralize and flatten the composition.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)

This is a painting of a scene from the Folies Bergère nightclub in Paris. It’s often regarded as Manet’s final significant achievement and is considered to be one of the most famous paintings by Édouard Manet.

In its realistic representation of a modern setting, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère illustrates his commitment to realism. It’s full of details that reveal information about the artist’s social status and surroundings.

The Surprised Nymph (1861)

This is a painting of Suzanne Leenhof, Manet’s future wife, who is featured as the nymph. The Surprised Nymph is known by its French name, “La Nymphe Surprise.” Manet believed it was highly respected, so much so that he held it in his own private collection until his death in 1883.

Young Flautist (1866)

This is a painting of a young regimental fifer playing a flout while dressed in the Imperial Guard attire of Spain. It’s also known as “Le Fifre” in French.

This figure is developed using a limited color palette and harsh tones, such as deep black shoes and jackets. The painting was inspired by Manet’s visit to Spain in 1865.

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