This is eerily coincidental.  Not two posts ago, this blog featured a chilling death scene of a torero somewhere in Spain, presumably Valencia. And not two days ago, another dead matador lay sprawled across the upper right corner of  the Prospero blog. That dead matador was  painted by the artist for whom I wish I could find the paper I wrote about years ago for a humanities class.

“Who is Édouard Manet?”, the paper asked. The Prospero blog may have found the answer: The enigma who may have invented modern art. I highly doubt it, though.  I know more about Manet than the “Intelligent Life” blogger on Prospero. Manet was not like a Hollywood “hot shot” who would have been an ideal Oscar nominee for Artist in a Leading Role. I’m sure he didn’t even know he played a Role in Modern Art.

Dead Matador, Édouard Manet (1864-1865) National Gallery of Art, Washington

Manet  wanted the admiration of the Académie des Beaux-Arts  (Academy of Fine Arts)  which wasn’t modern at all. Their yearly art exhibitions, Salon de Paris, maintained strict adherence to a formulaic art style, much like the how the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences selects ideal Oscar nominees.

There’s this whole other story about the Paris Salon of 1863 rejecting 4,000 artists (including Manet) so then Emperor Napolean III sets up the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) later in the year, but that could probably be another blog post.

Most of the rest of the article about him is true enough.  Except this part: “… the Musée d’Orsay’s forthcoming show, his first big one in France since 1983, is called  Manet, the Man who Invented Modern Art , Paris, April 5th to July 3rd.

Guess what, Intelligent Life ?  Manet died in 1883 and couldn’t possibly have a big show in France one hundred years later !


Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets, Édouard Manet (1872) Musée d'Orsay

This show is structured around a set of historical themes. It focuses on the teaching of Thomas Couture, the influence and support of Baudelaire and Manet’s relationships with Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzalès.

As it turns out,  Morisot was Manet’s good friend and eventual sister-in-law.  (Finally,  something for Wikipedia to do. )

He became friends with the Impressionists Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro through another painter, Berthe Morisot, who was a member of the group and drew him into their activities.

The grand niece of the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Morisot had her first painting accepted in the Salon de Paris in 1864, and she continued to show in the salon for the next ten years.

So really, Morisot is the one who invented the enigma who invented modern art.  And I’m only writing this post because of a dead matador and the eerily coincidental death of a torero somewhere in Spain, presumably Valencia.