Édouard Manet - A woman pouring water 1858

Pierrot dancing 1849 The barque of Dante 1854 The Anatomy Lesson 1856 A woman pouring water 1858 The Absinthe Drinker 1858 Study of trees 1859 The absinthe drinker 1859
A woman pouring water 1858

A woman pouring water. Study of Suzanne Leenhoff
1858 56x47cm oil/canvas
Ordrupgaard Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

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From Ordrupgaard Collection, Copenhagen:
As is often the case in Manet’s work, this is a complex picture. It is an early work, and on the face of it seems to be a portrait of his lover and later wife Suzanne Leenhoff. X-ray and infra-red photos of the picture have, however, shown that at the same time it is a reworked fragment of a larger composition. Manet seems to have been working on a monumental salon piece where this figure was placed in a magnificent architectural setting.
The picture has subtle allusions to Italian Renaissance painting in the poetic way Suzanne is depicted. The colouring and the placing of the figure in front of a window with a view of a Classical landscape, too, recalls Italian Renaissance pictures. The painting of Suzanne forms part of a whole series of very complex compositions in which Manet, as an avantgardist, very consciously explored – and challenged – the tradition of painting.