Eel and Mullet by Edouard Manet

Eel and Mullet by Edouard Manet

No matter how hard the work of Mane was in the press, his still lifes invariably aroused the admiration of the public. Here, even to hostile critics, there was nothing to cover. And if they completely rejected the compositional and substantive principles of the same “Breakfast on the Grass” and “Breakfast in the Studio,” then the still lifes present on these canvases, without saying a word, were noted as the artist’s luck.

Mane’s ingenuity in all that concerns still lifes is amazing. Manet could create a still life of literally everything – from gastronomic delicacies

to a simple lemon; from the exquisite “Vases with flowers”, 1864 to a single rose flower.

In the complex still lifes Manet felt the influence of Chardin, whose works were widely shown in the Martine Gallery in 1860. Mane is connected with still lifes by some curious household jokes. So, wanting to thank Bertha Morisot, who posed for him, the artist presented her with a bouquet of violets… depicted in the picture.

Or another case. One well-known journalist, having received the Asparagus Bundle still-life ordered from Manet, came to such admiration that he sent the artist 1,000 francs instead of eight hundred, which they agreed on. Soon, another man’s still life was brought to Mane from the journalist – the only sprig of asparagus was written on it, with the postscript: “This branch fell off from your bunch.”

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