Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere

Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere

World Art - by Craig Hill

Edouard Manet (1832-1883) was a French painter who composed some of the most incredible Impressionist paintings in history.

He drew some controversy over the suspected sexual tone of his paintings, but he quickly became recognized as a painter of some significance.

This painting is probably the most recognizable from Manet's work, and it was the last major painting before his death in 1883. It's a scene from the Folies-Bergere nightclub in Paris, looking at a less-than-receptive barmaid. The second woman was assumed to be a poor reflection of the barmaid, but it's not clear.

This work has often been imitated and parodied by other artists, including a black version in Coming to America with Eddie Murphy.

This work was criticized when it came out, but I've always liked it for the stark reality of what it portrays. Instead of patrons gleefully enjoying their drinks and show, the barmaid looks like she'd rather be anywhere else, especially since she's not thrilled to serve Manet.
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