Overview

In a review of the 1846 Salon, poet and critic Charles Baudelaire urged artists to depict "the heroism of modern life." Manet embodied Baudelaire's ideal painter of contemporary Paris. Emperor Napoleon III ordered the renovation of Paris under the direction of Baron Haussmann, and early in the 1860s the slum where Manet located his studio was being razed to accommodate the planned broad, tree–lined boulevards that still characterize the city. In this painting, Manet represented a strolling musician flanked by a gypsy girl and infant, an acrobat, an urchin, a drunkard, and a ragpicker—individuals the artist might have observed near his studio. The seemingly casual gathering is composed of the urban poor, possibly dispossessed by Haussmann’s projects. Neither anecdotal nor sentimental, Manet’s portrayal carries the careful neutrality of an unbiased onlooker, and this distinctly modern ambiguity and detachment are characteristic of all Manet's work.

By placing pigments side by side rather than blending tones, Manet could preserve the immediacy and directness of preliminary oil studies in his finished works. Effects produced by this technique were sharper and crisper than those obtained using academic methods. When they first encountered Manet's work early in the 1860s, Monet and Renoir admired his manner of painting and emulated it as they forged the style known as impressionism.

Inscription

lower right: ed. Manet 1862

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

(Manet sale, Paris, 4 February 1884, no. 9, withdrawn). (Camentron, Paris); possibly from whom purchased 1897 by (Durand-Ruel, New York and Paris), until at least 1904.[1] Alexandre Berthier, 4th Prince de Wagram [1883-1918], Paris, by 1906. P.R. Pearson, Paris, by 1912. (Galerie Arnot, Vienna); purchased 1913 by Österreichische Staatsgalerie (now Österreichische Galerie Belvedere), Vienna; released 1923 in exchange for two other paintings, possibly to (Galérie Barbazanges, Paris);[2] (Hodebert, Paris).[3] Acquired 1930 in Germany by (Galerie Étienne Bignou, Paris) for (Alex Reid & Lefèvre, London);[4] sold 1930 to Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1863
Galerie Martinet, Paris, 1863, no. 136.
1867
Tableaux de Edouard Manet, Avenue de l'Alma, Paris, 1867, no. 10.
1884
Exposition Manet, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1884, no. 16.
1898
Exhibition of International Art, The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 1898, no. 55, as _Vagabond Musicians_.
1904
Catalogue of Pictures Presented to the City of Dublin to form the nucleus of a Gallery of Modern Art; also Pictures Lent by the Executors of the late Mr. J. Staats Forbes, and Others, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1904, no. 51, as The Itinerant Musician.
1905
Derde Tentoonstelling van Schilderijen, E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., held at Pulchri Studio, The Hague, 1905, no. 87, as _Le musucien ambulant_.
1905
Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Grafton Galleries, London, 1905, no. 100.
1905
Salon d'Automne, Paris, 1905, no. 5.
1912
Exposition centennale de l'art français. Saint Petersbourg, 1912, no. 401.
1927
A Century of French Painting, exhibition organized by Alex Reid & Lefevre and held at McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, 1927, no. 18, repro.
1928
Cent ans de peinture française, E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, 1928, no. 42.
1928
Edouard Manet 1832-1883, Galerie Matthiesen, Berlin, 1928, no. 8.
1930
Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Deutscher und Französischer Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts, Kunstverein für die Rheinland und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, January/February 1930, no. 46
1930
Cent ans de peinture française, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1930, no. 15, repro.
1932
Exposition Manet, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 1932, no. 10.
1965
The Chester Dale Bequest, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1965, unnumbered checklist.
1980
Picasso: The Saltimbanques, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, no. 10, fig. 6.
1982
Manet and Modern Paris, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1982-1983, no. 67, repro.
2010
From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, January 2010-January 2012, unnumbered catalogue, repro.

Bibliography

1909
Sainte-Croix, Camille de. Edouard Manet, Portraits d'Hier. Paris, 1909 [reprinted in T. A. Gronberg, "Manet: A Retrospective," as "A Collegian and Manet," New York, 1990, 137].
1910
Duret, Théodore. Manet and the French Impressionists. Translated by J.E. Crawford Flitch. London and Philadelphia, 1910: 37, 216, no. 40.
1924
Severini, Gino. Manet. Rome, 1924: repro. 3.
1938
Pemberton, Murdock. "Ambassador to Art." Esquire (February 1938): repro.
1941
Catalogue of French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 9, repro. pl. XVI
1941
"The Chester Dale Pictures on loan to the National Gallery of Art."Magazine of Art 34 no. 9 (November 1941): 476+, repro.
1942
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 32, repro.
1944
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 160, color repro.
1944
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1944: 32, repro.
1944
Jewell, Edward Alden. French Impressionists and their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944: repro. 60.
1953
French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1953: 42, repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 110
1958
Richardson, John. Edouard Manet: paintings and drawings. London, 1958: no. 7, repro.
1960
The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 23, repro.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 254, repro.
1965
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings & Sculpture of the French School in the Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 70, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 82
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:422, color repro.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 71, repro.
1969
La Coste-Messelière, M.-G. de. "Un jeune prince amateur d'impressionnistes et chauffeur." L'Oeil 179 (November 1969): repro. 19.
1974
Rewald, John. "Jours sombres de l'impressionnisme." L'Oeil no. 223 (February 1974): 17, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 212, repro.
1977
Hanson, Anne Coffin. Manet and the Modern Tradition. New Haven and London, 1977:36,55-57,61-67,114,120,134,169,198,202, repro.11
1978
Brown, Marilyn R. "Manet's Old Musician: Portrait of a Gypsy and Naturalist Allegory." Studies in the History of Art 8 (1978): 77-87, repro.
1978
King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 84, pl. 50.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 111, pl. 97.
1982
Ross, Novelene. Manet's 'Bar at the Folies-Bergère' and the Myths of Popular Illustration. Ann Arbor, 1982:30, 91
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 446, no. 646, color repro.
1985
Athill, Philip. "The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers." Burlington Magazine 127, no. 982 (January 1985): 25
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 245, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 239,247, color repro.
1992
Carr-Gomm, Sarah. Manet. London, 1992: 50.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 185, repro.
1996
Körner, Hans. Edouard Manet: Dandy, Flaneur, Maler. Munich, 1996: 54-55, 227, color fig. 41.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 76, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 363-364, no. 298, color repro.
2008
Picasso et les maitres. Exh. cat. Paris, 2008: 345.
2009
Jones, Kimberly, and Ann Hoenigswald. "Shedding New Light on The Old Musician." Bulletin / National Gallery of Art, no. 41 (Fall 2009): 2-6, 8-13, figs. 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

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