Lot 8
  • 8

Edouard Manet

15,000,000 - 20,000,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère
  • oil on canvas
  • 47 by 56cm.
  • 18 1/2 by 22in.


Suzanne Manet, Paris (the artist’s widow, estate of the artist; inventory no. 92)

Edmond Bazire, Paris (a gift from the above in 1885)

Martin & Camentron, Paris

Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above in January 1893)

Dr Hermann Eissler, Vienna (acquired from the above in December 1912)

Dr Gottfried Eissler, Vienna (brother of the above)

Paul Cassirer, Amsterdam (on consignment from the estate of the above)

Franz Koenigs, Haarlem (acquired from the above in 1928; placed on loan to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam by 1930)

Private Collection (by descent from the above; painting remained on loan to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam until 1993. Sold: Sotheby’s, London, 28th June 1994, lot 10)

Private Collection, Great Britain (purchased at the above sale)

Acquired from the above by the present owner


(possibly) New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paintings by Edouard Manet, 1895 (titled Le Bar)

Brussels, La Libre Esthétique, Exposition des peintres impressionnistes, 1904, no. 90

London, Grafton Galleries, Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley Exhibited by Messrs. Durand-Ruel & Sons of Paris, 1905, no. 93

Vienna, Galerie Miethke, Manet-Monet, 1910, no. 3

Berlin, Galerie Matthiesen, Edouard Manet, 1928, no. 73, illustrated in the catalogue

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Vincent van Gogh en zijn Tijdgenooten, 1930, no. 215

Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie, Manet, 1932, no. 81

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Exposition de cent ans de théâtre, music-hall et cirque, 1936, no. 62

Paris, Palais National des Arts, Chefs d'œuvre de l'art français, 1937, no. 362

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Honderd Jaar Fransche Kunst, 1938, no. 159, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Bignou, La Peinture française au Musée Municipal d'Amsterdam, 1950, no. 8, illustrated in the catalogue

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum & Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Van Gogh's grote Tijdgenooten, 1953, no. 28, illustrated in the catalogue

Recklinghausen, Kunsthalle, Beginn und Reife, 1956, no. 166, illustrated in the catalogue

Marseille, Musée Cantini, Manet, 1961, no. 37, illustrated in the catalogue

Humblebaek, Louisiana Museet, Stedelijk Museum besöger Louisiana, 1961, no. 50

Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Stedelijk Museum besöker Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1961-62, no. 73 (as dating from 1882)

Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art & Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Edouard Manet, 1966-67, no. 177, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais & New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manet, 1983, no. 212, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

London, Courtauld Institute Galleries, The Hidden Face of Manet: An Investigation of the Artist's Working Process, 1986, no. 60, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Manet, 1996, no. 87, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Display with Permanent Collection, 1997-99

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, 1999-2000 (on loan)

London, The National Gallery; Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum & Williamstown, Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, 2000-01, no. 55, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, 2001-02 (on loan)

Barcelona, Museu Picasso, Paris-Barcelona, 2002

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Edouard Manet und die Impressionisten, 2002-03, no. 76, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

London, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery & Munich, Neue Pinakothek, Manet Face to Face, 2004-05, no. 5, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Impressionist Interiors, 2008, no. 2, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Tokyo, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Manet et le Paris moderne, 2010; no. III-62, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Musée d’Orsay, Manet inventeur du Moderne, 2011, no. 156, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet, Les Impressionnistes en privé. Cent chefs-d’œuvre de collections particulières, 2014, no. 14, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

London, The National Gallery, Inventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market, 2015, no. 27, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Théodore Duret, Histoire d'Edouard Manet et de son œuvre avec un catalogue des peintures et des pastels, Paris, 1902, no. 294, catalogued p. 268

Les modes à travers trois siècles (exhibition catalogue), Les Palais du Domaine de Bagatelle, France, 1911, illustrated p. 34

Julius Meier-Graefe, Edouard Manet, Munich, 1912, no. 165, illustrated p. 279

Théodore Duret, Histoire d'Edouard Manet et de son œuvre avec un catalogue des peintures et des pastels, Paris, 1919, no. 294

Jacques-Emile Blanche, Manet, Paris, 1924, illustrated pl. 37 (as dating from 1882)

L'Amour de l'Art, 1925, p. 178

Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, Manet raconté par lui-même, Paris, 1926, vol. II, illustrated fig. 304 (titled Le Bar and as dating from 1882)

Adolphe Tabarant, Manet, Histoire catalographique, Paris, 1931, no. 370

René Huyghe, ‘Manet, Peintre’, in L'Amour de l'Art, May 1932, fig. 82, illustrated p. 183

Paul Jamot & Georges Wildenstein, Manet, Paris, 1932, vol. I, no. 466, catalogued p. 175; vol. II, fig. 279, illustrated p. 142

Robert Rey, Manet, London & Toronto, 1938, illustrated p. 92

Gotthard Jedlicka, Edouard Manet, Zurich, 1941, illustrated opposite p. 314; detail illustrated opposite p. 315

Raymond Mortimer, Edouard Manet, Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère, London, 1944, illustrated p. 7

Michel Florisoone, Manet, Monaco, 1947, illustrated p. 93

Adolphe Tabarant, Manet et ses œuvres, Paris, 1947, no. 397, illustrated p. 615

Hans Jantzen, ‘Edouard Manet's "Bar aux Folies-Bergère", in Essays in Honor of Georg Swarzenski, Chicago & Berlin, 1951, discussed pp. 228-232

Samuel Lane Faison, Jr., Edouard Manet, New York, 1953, mentioned p. 22

Douglas Cooper, The Courtauld Collection of Paintings, London, 1954, mentioned p. 102

Günter Busch, Edouard Manet: Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère, Stuttgart, 1956, no. 10, illustrated

John Richardson, Edouard Manet. Paintings and Drawings, London & New York, 1958, mentioned p. 131

Pierre Courthion, Edouard Manet, London, 1962, no. 53, illustrated p. 37

Sandra Orienti & Marcello Venturi, L'opera pittorica di Edouard Manet, Milan, 1967, no. 357B, illustrated p. 117

Denis Rouart & Sandra Orienti, Tout l'œuvre peint d'Edouard Manet, Paris, 1970, no. 361B, illustrated p. 117

Stedelijk Museum (ed.), Catalogus Schilderijen, tekeningen, assemblag plastiek, Amsterdam, 1970, vol. 1, listed under no. 436

Germain Bazin, Edouard Manet, Milan, 1972, illustrated in colour p. 68

Karl Hermann Usener, ‘Edouard Manet und die Vie Moderne’, lecture delivered on 14th December 1959, published in Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 19, 1974, no. 21, illustrated p. 28

Denis Rouart & Daniel Wildenstein, Edouard Manet, Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, 1975, vol. I, no. 387, illustrated p. 287

Juliet Wilson-Bareau, ‘Cafés-concerts and the Folies-Bergère’ in ‘The Hidden Face of Manet’, Burlington Magazine, April 1986, illustrated pl. 8, illustrated figs. 101, 102 (positive print from a composite X-radiograph)

Kathleen Adler, Manet, Oxford, 1986, no. 219, illustrated p. 225

Dennis Farr et al., Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces: The Courtauld Collection, New Haven & London, 1987, illustrated p. 30

Stedelijk Museum (ed.), Uit de Collectie, Amsterdam, 1989, illustrated in colour p. 68

T. J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life, London, 1990, pp. 251-252, illustrated in colour pl. XXVI

Eric Darragon, Manet, Paris, 1991, p. 334, illustrated in colour pl. 250

Juliet Wilson-Bareau (ed.), Manet by Himself, London, 1991, no. 227, illustrated in colour p. 289

Lesley Stevenson, Manet, New York, 1992, illustrated in colour p. 171

Vivien Perutz, Edouard Manet, London, 1993, illustrated p. 202

Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth Century Art, A Critical History, London, 1994, mentioned p. 253

Hajo Düchting, Edouard Manet, Images of Parisian Life, Munich & New York, 1995, illustrated in colour p. 111

Ruth E. Iskin, ‘Selling, Seduction, and Soliciting the Eye: Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère’, in The Art Bulletin, March 1995, vol. LXXVII, no. 20, illustrated p. 42

Hans Körner, Edouard Manet. Dandy, Flaneur, Maler, Munich, 1996, no. 171, illustrated p. 199

Alan Krell, Manet and the Painters of Contemporary Life, London, 1996, no. 178, illustrated in colour p. 191

Bradford R. Collins (ed.), 12 Views of Manet's Bar, Princeton, 1996, fig. 1, illustrated

Manet en el Prado (exhibition catalogue), Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2003-04, fig. 160, illustrated in colour p. 334


The canvas is lined. Apart from a thin diagonal line of retouching in the lower right corner, a small vertical line of retouching near the centre of the left edge, and a few small spots of retouching in the jacket of the figure in the lower right, in the upper right corner, to the left of the central figure and on the upper edge, visible under ultra-violet light, this work is in good condition. Colours: In comparison to the printed catalogue illustration, the colours are overall crisper and less warm in the original. The whites are cleaner and the blue and green tones are more pronounced in the original.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Depicting what is arguably the most famous theme of Manet’s œuvre as well as one of the most iconic images of the Impressionist movement, Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère is an earlier version of his celebrated oil of the same title, now in the collection of the Courtauld Gallery, London (fig. 1). Painted several months after the present canvas, and on a larger scale, the Courtauld oil was exhibited at the Salon of 1882 and is now recognised as the crowning achievement of Manet’s career. In 1881, the year when he executed the present work, Manet received important tokens of recognition for his art: in May he was awarded a second-class medal for his Portrait de M. Pertuiset, le chasseur de lions which he exhibited at the Salon, and in December he became a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

In the late 1870s Manet turned to the theme of bars and café-concerts as inspiration for his paintings, which reached a climax in the present subject. Whilst in the earlier oils on this theme Manet depicted men and women enjoying themselves or absorbed in spectacles, in the present work the viewer is positioned in their place, looking straight at the barmaid. Occupying a narrow yet elevated space between the bar and the mirror, she in turn appears to be looking at a male customer, who is only visible as a reflection in the mirror, and whose ‘real’ figure seems to be placed outside of the scope of the picture. This multiplicity of gazes is further amplified by the audiences seen in the background, who are depicted watching a show. Françoise Cachin suggests that the idea of a composition in front of a mirror may have been inspired by Caillebotte’s oil Dans un café (fig. 3), which Manet would have seen at the Impressionist exhibition of 1880 (F. Cachin in Manet (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., 1983, p. 480).

John House has described the scene of the present work: ‘The Folies-Bergère was a fashionable Parisian café-concert, a celebrated venue that would have been well known to many of the painting’s viewers at the Salon. It levied admission charges, rather than simply charging for drinks consumed, which set it apart from most of the other cafés-concerts at the time […]. Manet’s painting depicts one of the bars in the balcony of the main auditorium; the reflection in the mirror behind the barmaid shows the opposite balcony, with, at bottom left, a glimpse of the stalls area below and two of the columns that supported the balcony’ (J. House in Manet Face to Face (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 64).

Café-concerts, variety theatres and dance halls were a popular form of entertainment in the fin-de-siècle Paris, and provided a source of inspiration for a variety of artists including Degas (fig. 4), Toulouse-Lautrec (fig. 5) and Picasso (fig. 6). The Folies-Bergère, a Parisian variety theatre, was opened in 1869 on the rue Richer. It offered a combination of pantomime, ballet, acrobatics and music, with many bars ‘tended by charming girls whose playful glances and delightful smiles attract a swarm of customers’, according to one contemporary account. Manet made various sketches there: one, for instance, a pen and ink drawing of 1878-80, shows figures in the balcony seen from below as they peer down towards the stage. The present work was based on an ink sketch depicting a barmaid engaged in a conversation with a man, both figures reflected in the mirror behind her.

The immediacy of the composition and fluidity of brushstrokes give the present work a sense of vivacity, and in this respect it stands in marked contrast to the studied monumentality of the Courtauld painting. Discussing the relationship between this and the final version, Françoise Cachin wrote: ‘As is the case repeatedly in Manet’s oeuvre […] a great deal has been done between the preliminary study and the final canvas intended for the Salon. Between the liveliness of a little painting such as this and the definitive canvas, there is a transformation at work guided by the logic of the picture rather than of the scene; reality is transposed, bent, as it were, by a need for order and simplification, at the expense of actual appearance. The reflections of the two figures in the study become implausible in the painting, where they propound a more complex poetic truth. The principal figure in the study, seemingly not the final model, has not yet assumed a mythical stature. From a vignette of everyday life, Manet in the end created an icon of contemporary Paris; from an impressionistic memorandum, he fashioned a great morceau de peinture’ (F. Cachin in Manet (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., 1983, pp. 483-484).

Indeed Manet worked on the Salon canvas in his studio over a long period of time, as his brother Eugène confided to Berthe Morisot in March 1882: ‘He is still reworking the same picture: a woman in a café…‘ (quoted in Manet (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., 1996, p. 245, translated from French). The model appearing in the present work was replaced with Suzon, a barmaid from the Folies-Bergère who posed for the artist. Georges Jeanniot, a visitor to Manet’s studio in January 1882, recounted: ‘He was then painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, and the model, a pretty girl, was posing behind a table laden with bottles and comestibles’ (G. Jeanniot, quoted in ibid., p. 246).

After Manet’s death in 1883 Fernand Lochard photographed all the works that remained in his studio. According to Léon Leenhoff’s manuscript notes accompanying the photograph of the present painting, this version was executed in the studio at rue d'Amsterdam, and the man on the right is identified as Henry Dupray, a military painter who was Manet's neighbour there. Leenhoff locates the bar shown as being on the first floor, to the right of the stage and the proscenium, and dates the painting to the summer of 1881. Ronald Pickvance, however, argued that Manet did not start working on this painting until his return to Paris from Versailles in October of that year at the earliest, and possibly as late as December (R. Pickvance in ibid., pp. 245-246).

Whilst the present work is usually discussed by scholars in the context of how it relates to the Salon version, Richard R. Brettell suggests that Manet may well not have executed the present version as a conscious study for the larger composition, as evidenced by the quick, spontaneous wet-on-wet style of the present work. ‘It is perfectly possible that Manet had no clear idea when painting this study that he would later elaborate it in the studio and use it as the basis for his last Salon painting’ (R. R. Brettell in Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890 (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 96).

A print of the earliest photograph of this painting, taken by Fernand Lochard, was accidentally trimmed so that the bottom section was excluded (in the original set of albums, in the Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York, vol. 1, no. 33). As a result it was falsely speculated by earlier scholars that the lower area from the bar top downwards might be a later addition. This erroneous supposition is conclusively refuted by the existence of an untrimmed Lochard photograph among the 'duplicate' albums in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (Dc 300g, vol. IV, no. 21), and by Leenhof’s manuscript dimensions of the original which tally with the shape of the full image rather than the trimmed one.

In the mid-1980s Juliet Wilson Bareau led a research based on X-ray photography of both the present work and the Courtauld version, and concluded that the present composition ‘was painted with great freshness and spontaneity and was hardly altered in the course of the work’. Furthermore, the X-rays shed revealing light both on their individual gestation and on the process which transformed one into the other. The only changes of any significance detectable in the course of the execution of the first version are an adjustment to the position of the man and the added flesh-tones effectively baring the bosom of the barmaid. The evolution of the Courtauld picture, on the other hand, is much more complex. Beneath its present surface lies a composition much closer to the first version. Manet initially transferred the composition of the present work to the larger canvas, and over a longer period of time made changes that would lead to the final image: he monumentalised the figure of the barmaid and depicted her frontally and in the centre, replaced her clasped arms with straight ones, moved the barmaid’s reflected image to a less logical position on the right, and moved the image of her male companion further up into the top right corner. In the process he substituted the immediacy of the first version, in which reality is transcribed with a wonderful vibrancy and freedom, for a more complex poetic truth (J. Wilson Bareau in The Hidden Face of Manet: An Investigation of the Artist’s Working Process (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., pp. 76-83).

This work remained with the artist until his death, and was inherited by his widow, Suzanne Manet (née Leenhoff). It was subsequently given to Edmond Bazire, who was a friend of the artist and wrote the first monograph on his work in 1884. The painting was eventually placed by Paul Durand-Ruel with the Viennese art collector Dr Hermann Eissler, where it hung alongside works by El Greco, Goya, Gericault and Delacroix. In 1928 Franz Koenigs acquired the work through the Amsterdam branch of Paul Cassirer's dealership, which had it on consignment from the estate of Dr Eissler's brother Gottfried, also a great collector. Koenigs was a German investment banker who settled in Haarlem in 1922 and took Dutch nationality. During the 1920s, he became one of the leading old master drawings collectors of his generation, building up a collection of exceptional range and quality. The collector and art connoisseur Frits Lugt once observed that ‘his eye, his flair and the speed with which he made decisions surprised all those who worked with him’. He acquired a considerable number of works on paper by Dürer, Tintoretto, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Tiepolo, Ingres, Delacroix, Daumier and Cézanne, as well as major paintings by Rubens, Bosch and Van Gogh.

The Manet remained in the Koenigs family until 1994 – much of that time on loan to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam – while the remainder of Koenigs' collection had a more tumultuous history. Financial difficulties during the 1930s forced Franz Koenigs to pledge the major part of his collection to a Bank in Amsterdam, and the collection was put on loan with Rotterdam's Museum Boymans in 1935. After the occupation of Holland in 1940, Koenigs was unable to regain control of the loaned collection, part of which remains there to this day. After Franz Koenigs died under the wheels of a train in Cologne in 1941, the present work stayed in his family collection for several decades.

Over the course of its rich history, this painting has been extensively exhibited both in Manet retrospectives and Impressionist group shows. In 1905 it was included in the now legendary exhibition of Impressionist painters organised by Durand-Ruel in London's Grafton Galleries (fig. 8). Most recently it was exhibited alongside other masterpieces of the Impressionist movement in the critically acclaimed show Inventing Impressionism held at the National Gallery in London earlier this year.


This work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition Manet: Sehen to be held at the Hamburger Kunsthalle from May to September 2016.