Édouard Manet - Study for Bar at the Folies-Bergere 1882

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Study for Bar at the Folies-Bergere 1882

Study for Bar at the Folies-Bergere 1882
47x56cm oil/canvas
Sotheby’s - LOT SOLD. 16,949,000 GBP. Private collection

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From Sotheby’s:
In the late 1870s Manet turned to the theme of bars and café-concerts as inspiration for his paintings, which reached a climax in the present subject. Whilst in the earlier oils on this theme Manet depicted men and women enjoying themselves or absorbed in spectacles, in the present work the viewer is positioned in their place, looking straight at the barmaid. Occupying a narrow yet elevated space between the bar and the mirror, she in turn appears to be looking at a male customer, who is only visible as a reflection in the mirror, and whose ‘real’ figure seems to be placed outside of the scope of the picture. This multiplicity of gazes is further amplified by the audiences seen in the background, who are depicted watching a show. Françoise Cachin suggests that the idea of a composition in front of a mirror may have been inspired by Caillebotte’s oil Dans un café, which Manet would have seen at the Impressionist exhibition of 1880 (F. Cachin in Manet (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., 1983, p. 480).