Édouard Manet (1832–1883): At the Toilet. Woman Fastening Her Garter
Pastel on canvas | 55 x 46 cm | 1878-79
Manet typically goes directly to the motif. The picture is overpoweringly physical and the woman’s breasts almost flop out towards the observer. The picture was done in pastel crayon, and we see a woman stand against a wall with flowery wallpaper beside an upholstered divan. The pastel technique itself, the boudoir setting and the ambivalent element – is it a dressing or an undressing scene? – create a piquant but also poetic mood in the picture. It is not clear whether the picture was a sitting with the painter and a professional model or a more private picture, in which case the woman could be Manet’s friend Mèry Laurent.
Manet played an epoch-making role in French art in the 1800s. His works aroused vehement debate in his age and his experimental way of painting with broken lines and broad black contours looked like nothing that had ever been seen before. A quite crucial feature of Manet’s work is the Modernist renewal of the tradition of painting.
Motifs: Monumental figure compositions, portraits, still lifes, flower pictures and pictures of “modern life”.
Read more about Manet at the Musée d’Orsay’s website.