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EDOUARD MANET

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MADAME AUGUSTE MANET, 1863

About the Artwork

This portrait of the artist’s mother, Eugénie-Désirée Fournier Manet, shows her dressed in mourning for her husband, who had died the year before. The thick swatches of black and dark gray paint that form the dress resonate against the lighter, flat paint of the face and hands. The painting is essentially monochromatic and possesses a solidity reminiscent of Manet’s beloved Velázquez. Bernard Berenson called the work “a colossal thing.”

Source: Richard Lingner, "Portrait of Madame Auguste Manet," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 193

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