French art at the Courtauld: Édouard Manet (1832-1883), A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882
I hadn't registered the bottle of British Bass beer in the bar at the Folies-Bergère. Bottled Bass seems to get everywhere, some UK friends and I had to explain to a barman in San Francisco that it wasn't pronounced by spelling it's letters as "B-A-S-S" but as one word "Bass" to rhyme with "ass".
Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882
Oil paint on canvas This celebrated work is Édouard Manet's last major painting, completed a year before he died. At one of the bars in the Folies-Bergère- a popular Parisian music hall - wine, champagne and British Bass beer with its red triangle logo await customers. A fashionable crowd mingles on the balcony. The legs and green boots of a trapeze artist in the upper left hint at the exciting musical and circus acts entertaining the audience. This animated background is in fact a reflection in the large gold-framed mirror, which projects it into the viewer's own space.
Manet made sketches on-site but painted this work entirely in his studio, where a barmaid named Suzon came to pose. She is the painting's still centre. Her enigmatic expression is unsettling, especially as she appears to be interacting with a male customer. lgnoring normal perspective, Manet shifted their reflection to the right. The bottles on the left are similarly misaligned in the mirror. This play of reflections emphasises the disorientating atmosphere of the Folies-Bergère. In this work,
Manet created a complex and absorbing
composition that is considered one of the
iconic paintings of modern life. Samuel Courtauld gift, 1934
Michael Ixer ● 61d0 Comments