Édouard Manet - Two women drinking, Bocks 1878

Self-portrait with skull-cap 1878 The Blonde with Bare Breasts 1878 The road-menders, Rue de Berne 1878 Two women drinking, Bocks 1878 Woman fastening her garter 1878 Woman in a tub 1878 At Father Lathuille 1879
Two women drinking, Bocks 1878

Two women drinking, Bocks. Women Drinking Beer 1878
Burrell Collection, Glasgow, UK

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From Burrell Collection, Glasgow:
In the 1860s Paris was the cultural capital of Europe. It became fashionable to take trips on the Seine, spend days at the races and frequent theatres, popular concerts and cafés. Manet, like Degas, was a member of Parisian café-society.
Although inspired by a scene Manet would have observed in his daily life. The Beer Drinkers would have been posed by models in the artist’s studio. That the women are drinking beer rather than wine is not surprising. Previously associated with peasants and provincials, beer had become a fashionable drink in Paris by this time.
When The Beer Drinkers was exhibited at Manet’s one-man show, held in the offices of La Vie Moderne in April 1880, the caricaturist Bertall raged against ‘such frightful and vulgar types... this series of women drinking beer.’ Bertall’s outrage had probably less to do with notions of beauty than with morality. At the time cafés and brasseries were often used by unregistered prostitutes. It is possible, however, that these apparently preoccupied women, instead of waiting to be picked up, may simply be socialising and relaxing.