Manet, Édouard

BORN 23 Jan 1832, Paris - DIED 30 Apr 1883, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Passy Cimetière, 2 Rue du Commandant Schloesing (division 04)

One of the major French impressionists. Manet was the son of a senior civil servant and his father had a legal career for him in mind. Nut Manet preferred his uncle's drawing lessons and when he was sixteen he said he wanted to be a painter. A strange compromise resulted in for him in entering the Navy. He travelled to Rio de Janeiro, but failed to pass his exams twice and in 1850 his father reluctantly allowed him to become a painter.

He worked at the studio of the famous Couture, but soon had ideas of his own. When he was twenty he started an affair with his piano teacher, the Dutch Suzanne Leenhoff. She gave birth to a son two years later and he secretly set her up in lodgings with his mother's help. Suzanne pretended that their son was her younger brother and Manet always kept up appearances, even after his father died and they were eventually married.

In 1853 he visited Italy and in 1856 he left Couture. In 1859 he submitted "The Absinthe Drinker" to the Salon but it was refused. In 1862 two other paintings were accepted, but in 1863 "The Luncheon on the Grass" was also refused. He exhibited at the Salon des Refusés where the public reacted furious when they saw a nude woman sitting next to men in modern clothes. Things got even worse when "Olympia" was exhibited at the Salon in 1865. People and critics were both outraged by this 'unashamed female gorilla'. Manet had painted a prostitute in the pose of a classical Venus and his friend Zola seemed to be the only one to defend him. After the people had come especially to mock his work at the World Exhibtion of 1867, he unexpectedly enjoyed some success at the Salons of 1868 and 1869.

In 1868 he met Berthe Morisot, who was a talented painter herself. They became friends and in return for his professional advice she persuaded him to paint in the open air and influenced him towards the use of the techniques of the impressionists. She often posed for his portraits until she married his brother Eugène in 1874.

In the Franco-Prussian war he served in the army and afterwards he suffered from a nervous collapse. When in the seventies he was finally accepted by some of the critics, his technique was even better than before. But he started to suffer from health problems and, against his will, had to spend time in the country. He continued working and with the help of his friend Proust he was made Chevalier de Légion d'Honneur in 1881. His health detoriated quickly now and in March 1883 he suffered from gangrene. His left leg was amputated, but he died ten days later on April 20th. In 1895 Berthe Morisot was buried in the same grave at Passy cemetery, Paris.

• Wife: Leenhoff, Suzanne (1863-1883, Zaltbommel, Gelderland)

Related persons
• was a friend of Baudelaire, Charles
• was a friend of Béraud, Jean
• painted Bernstein, Henry
• has a connection with Couture, Thomas
• painted Morisot, Berthe
• influenced Rosales, Eduardo
• painted Rouvière, Philibert


The grave of Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot at the Passy cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (29 Mar 2010)


"Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus".
(Oxford: Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University)

   (1863, Paris: Musée d'Orsay)

"Au conservatoire" ("In the Conservatory").
   (1879, Berlin: Nationalgalerie)

Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990
The Great Artists 14 - Manet, Marshall Cavendish Partworks, London, 1985

Manet, Julie

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 23 Jan 2022