Knoedler, New York
Paul Cassirer, Berlin (in 1929)
Galerie Knoedler, Paris (before 1932)
Private Collection, Paris (1935)
Private Collection, Wisconsin
Private Collection, New York
Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris
Noortman Master Paintings, Maastricht
Acquired from the above
London, Knoedler & Company, A Century of French painting, 1928, no. 14
Chicago, O'Brien Gallery, French Painting of the 19th and 20th Centuries, 1928-29, no. 12
London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, La flèche d'or, 1935, no. 16
New York, French Art Gallery, French Impressionists, 1938, no. 3
Théodore Duret, Histoire d'Édouard Manet et de son oeuvre; avec une catalogue des peintures et des pastels, Paris, 1902, Supplément, 1919, no. 12
'La collection privée de Messieurs J. et G. Bernheim-Jeune,' L'art moderne, Paris, 1919, illustrated pl. LXXVI
Adolphe Tabarant, Manet: histoire catalographique, Paris, 1931, no. 389
Paul Jamot and Georges Wildenstein, Manet, Paris, 1932, vol. I, no. 491, catalogued p. 179; vol. II, no. 431, illustrated p. 206
Adolphe Tabarant, Manet et ses oeuvres, Paris, 1947, no. 416, illustrated p. 616
Denis Rouart and Sandra Orienti, Tout l'oeuvre peint d'Édouard Manet, Paris, 1970, no. 404b, illustrated p. 119
Denis Rouart and Daniel Wildenstein, Édouard Manet, Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1975, vol. I, no. 410, illustrated p. 299
Considered the progenitor of the Impressionists and the father of modern painting, Édouard Manet astonished his contemporaries with his radical simplification of form and application of pure, luminous color. His approach to still-lifes in particular revolutionized that genre, paving the way for the innovations of Cézanne, Braque and Picasso. In the mid-19th century Manet's pictures were considered aytpical by those accustomed to the glazed, academic compositions at the annual Salon, so many a perspicacious critic or friend was prompted to come to his defense. "One's first impression of a picture by Edouard Manet is that it is a trifle 'hard,'" wrote Émile Zola in 1867. "One is not accustomed to seeing reproductions of reality so simplified and so sincere. But as I have said, they possess a certain still but surprising elegance. To begin with one's eye only notices broad patches of colour, but soon objects become more defined and appear in their correct place" (É. Zola, Edouard Manet, Revue du XX Siècle, 1867, reprinted in C. Harrison, P. Wood & J. Gaiger, Art in Theory, 1815-1900, An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford, 1998, p. 554).
Zola's elementary instruction holds true in the analysis of the present depiction of four apples, painted in 1882 at the end of Manet's life. During his last years Manet was inflicted with a crippling illness, only able to work on small canvases propped on an easel by his bed. This charming composition was one of those that occupied him during the last months of his life, and it exemplifies the elegance and freshness of color from which the younger Impressionists drew their inspiration.
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