Édouard Manet. Jeanne (Spring), 1881. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The first Art Institute exhibition devoted exclusively to Édouard Manet in over 50 years focuses on the transformation of the artist’s style in his later years.
By the late 1870s, when this exhibition begins, Édouard Manet had become recognized as a painter of modern life. He had long looked to historical subjects and style for inspiration but in the 1870s grew more and more immersed in the now—eventually proposing a radical new alignment of modern art with fashionable femininity. While he continued to pursue highly finished, heroically scaled paintings intended for the Salon throughout these later years (a time also marked by health problems and limited mobility), he simultaneously approached smaller works more fluidly and spontaneously, taking up pastel and watercolor while unapologetically embracing beauty and visual pleasure.