Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat

Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat

by Beth Archer Brombert
     
 

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"Manet comes alive in [Brombert's] pages. . . . At times her biography reads like a substantial and detailed 19th-century novel. . . . Brombert's Edouard Manet gives us not only a portrait of a complex artist but, in its authority and its range, a portrait of an age as well."—James R. Mellow, New York Times Book Review

"One of the pleasures of

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Overview

"Manet comes alive in [Brombert's] pages. . . . At times her biography reads like a substantial and detailed 19th-century novel. . . . Brombert's Edouard Manet gives us not only a portrait of a complex artist but, in its authority and its range, a portrait of an age as well."—James R. Mellow, New York Times Book Review

"One of the pleasures of reading her is to follow the way she weaves life, art and history into a smooth tapestry. The art emerges from the life, and in the broadest possible context: in terms of its creator's life and concerns and in terns of its historical and cultural setting."—Eric Gibson, The Washington Times Books

"Richly detailed and informative . . . [this biography] exposes the character of an artist who maintained a sharply defined duality between his public and private personas."—Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Brombert's reading of important canvasses . . . shine, as do her accounts of the changing social and political environment in which Manet worked. . . . Well researched, complexly conceived, and clearly written."—Kirkus Reviews

"Brilliant . . . [this book] grants us a far deeper understanding of why [Manet's] paintings outraged so many of his peers, and why these same masterpieces resonate so richly in our psyches a century later."—Booklist, starred review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Edouard Manet (1832-1883), whose paintings depict noncommunication between intimates, unspoken secrets and the pretense of bourgeois propriety, led a life of camouflage and deception, according to this compelling, if often conjectural, biography. When the French painter turned 20, his 22-year-old mistress, Dutch piano teacher Suzanne Leenhoff, gave birth to a son whom she named Lon-Edouard Kolla. Throughout her life, Leenhoff bizarrely insisted that Lon was her brother; she and Manet (who lived with Lon and his mistress) married in 1863, and the painter became the boy's godfather, yet Brombert builds a plausible case that Lon was actually Manet's unacknowledged biological son. She is less convincing in arguing that Manet and his sister-in-law, painter Berthe Morisot, held mutual unfulfilled romantic longings for each other, or that Manet, often criticized as a neutral, apolitical observer, was in fact a ``political animal'' with center/left sympathies. Even so, her startling, intimate biography brilliantly links Manet's complex personality and hidden personal life to his art. Brombert is author of Christina: Portrait of a Princess and translator of Francis Ponge. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This is the first full-length biography of painter Edouard Manet in English since the translation of Henri Perruchot's Manet in 1962. Manet's importance to the development of art, both as an early, if reluctant, leader of the impressionist movement and his interactions with a wide range of writers, most importantly Zola and Baudelaire, are explored in great detail here. Brombert, a cultural historian, provides extensive information about Manet's world and the importance of 19th-century Paris to the formation of Manet's personal and artistic life. Unfortunately, Brombert's telling of Manet's life is often slow-moving and chronologically confusing. Manet's paintings and his relationship with his sister-in-law Berthe Morisot are examined with a piercing Freudian eye, sometimes to the detriment of a careful art-historical analysis as is provided in works like Harry Rand's Manet's Contemplation at the Gare Saint-Lazare (Univ. of California, 1987). Recommended with reservations for most collections.-Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Booknews
This biography approaches Manet's life and work with the assumption that behind his artistic production lay a complex individual who, like most artists of every genre, inserted himself into his art; his paintings are viewed as a synthesis of the man's experiences and the artist's vision. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226075440
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.13(h) x 1.40(d)

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