Édouard Manet - Asparagus 1880

Woman Reading 1879 Woman with a gold pin 1879 Young woman among the flowers 1879 Asparagus 1880 A young girl 1880 Artist's atelier 1880 Bundle of aspargus 1880
Asparagus 1880

Asparagus 1880
16x21cm oil/canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

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From Musée d'Orsay, Paris:
The delightful story of this painting is well known: Manet sold Charles Ephrussi A Bunch of Asparagus for eight hundred francs. But Ephrussi sent him a thousand francs, and Manet, who was a master of elegance and wit, painted this asparagus and sent it to him with a note saying: "There was one missing from your bunch".
The "mother" canvas was painted on a black background, rather like the Dutch still lifes of the17th century. Here, Manet creates a very subtle interplay between the mauves and greys of the asparagus and the colour of the marble on which it lies. He paints freely, and purely for the pleasure, demonstrating in this spontaneous work his formidable skill, his perfect taste and his humour. "This is not a still-life like the others", wrote Georges Bataille, "although still, it is, at the same time, lively".