This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.
The Norton Simon Foundation and the National Gallery of Art have recently entered into a long-term arrangement whereby selected masterpieces from each collection will be lent to the other institution to hang temporarily with its permanent collection.
Norton Simon (1907–1993), one of the great collectors of his age, established the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena in 1975 to allow public access to his art treasures. European painting of the 19th century is one of the major strengths of the collection, with more than 130 works that span the entire century. Among the most impressive of these is Ragpicker by Edouard Manet, which was purchased by Simon in 1968.
The Norton Simon's Ragpicker and the National Gallery's Old Musician and Tragic Actor (Rouvière as Hamlet), are from a series of monumental figural compositions that Manet painted in the 1860s, inspired by the old masters, particularly 17th-century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. Manet's debt to Velázquez is evident in the compositions of Ragpicker and Tragic Actor, with nearly life-sized figures placed against an ambiguous backdrop that give the works an austere, theatrical appearance. The influence of Velázquez can also be recognized in the relatively somber palette and vibrant brushwork of all three paintings. Even the humble subject matter is rooted in the traditions of 17th-century art, which Manet adapted to create direct and unsentimental images of people on the margins of society.
Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, California.
Sponsors: The exhibition is sponsored by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.
Schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 22–November 29, 2009