Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Brioche

Édouard Manet (French, Paris 1832–1883 Paris)
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 31 7/8 in. (65.1 x 81 cm)
Credit Line:
Partial and Promised Gift of an Anonymous Donor, 1991
Accession Number:
Not on view
Although Manet made several large-scale canvases depicting fruit and fish in the mid-1860s, this work of 1870 was inspired by the arrival at the Louvre of a painting of a brioche by Jean Siméon Chardin, the eighteenth-century French master of still life. Like Chardin, Manet surrounded the buttery bread with things to stimulate the senses—soft peaches, frosty plums, a glinting knife, a precious box—and topped the brioche, following the national fashion, with a sweet-smelling flower.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Manet, 1870
Jean-Baptiste Faure, Paris (possibly bought from the artist, by 1884–1907; placed on deposit with Durand-Ruel, Paris, February 20, 1906, date book no. L.10914 (date book records the price asked by Faure as Fr 60,000); sold March 13, 1907 for Fr 25,000 to Durand-Ruel; cat., 1902, no. 34); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1907–9; transferred October 22, 1909 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1909–at least 1912; stock no. L. 8423]; Carl O. Nielsen, Oslo (by 1918–at least 1922); [Étienne Bignou, Paris]; [Durand-Ruel, New York]; [Alex Reid, Glasgow, 1923; bought in Paris; sold for £10,500 to Gow]; Leonard Gow, Craigendorran [Glasgow] (1923–at least 1935); [The Lefevre Gallery, London]; Mrs. Chester Beatty, London (by 1936–55; sold on March 16, 1955 to Rosenberg); [Paul Rosenberg, New York, 1955; inv. no. 5610; sold on June 27 to Rockefeller]; Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller, New York (from 1955)
Paris. École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition des œuvres de Édouard Manet," January 6–28, 1884, no. 85 (lent by M. Faure).

Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition de 24 tableaux et aquarelles par Manet formant la collection Faure," March 1–31, 1906, no. 12.

London. Sulley and Co. "Exhibition of Paintings & Water-Colours by Manet (Faure Collection)," June 11–30, 1906, no. 10.

Berlin. Galerie Paul Cassirer. "Ausstellung der Sammlung Faure," September 22–October 22, 1906, no. 9 or 12 [see Hanson 1966, Callen 1971, and Moffett 1983].

Manchester City Art Gallery. "Modern French Paintings," 1907–8, no. 66 (as "The Cake," lent by Durand-Ruel).

London. Palace of Fine Arts. "Franco-British Exhibition," May 14–December ?, 1908, no. 331 (lent by Durand-Ruel).

Copenhagen. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. "Édouard Manet: Udstilling af hans Arbejder i Skandinavisk Eje," January 27–February 17, 1922, no. 15 (lent by Carl O. Nielsen, Kristiania).

Stockholm. Nationalmuseum. "Édouard Manet: Udstilling af hans Arbejder i Skandinavisk Eje," February 28–March 18, 1922, no. 15 (lent by Carl O. Nielsen, Kristiania).

Oslo. Nationalgalleriet. "Édouard Manet: Udstilling af hans Arbejder i Skandinavisk Eje," March 30–April 18, 1922, no. 15 (lent by Carl O. Nielsen, Kristiania).

London. Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. "Masterpieces of French Art," June 1923, no. 15.

Glasgow. Lefevre Fine Art Ltd. "Masterpieces of French Art," August 1923, no catalogue? [see Exh. London 1932].

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "French Art: 1200–1900," January 4–March 12, 1932, no. 395 (lent by Leonard Gow, Craigendoran) [commemorative catalogue, no. 427].

Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "Exposition Manet, 1832–1883," June–July 1932, no. 43 (lent by Leonard Gow, Glasgow).

Brussels. Palais des Beaux-Arts. "L'Impressionnisme," June 15–September 29, 1935, no. 35 (lent by Leonard Gow, Scotland).

Paris. Paul Rosenberg. "Exposition 'Le grand siècle'," June 15–July 11, 1936, no. 35 (lent by Mme Chester Beatty).

London. New Burlington Galleries. "Exhibition of Masters of French 19th Century Painting," October 1–31, 1936, no. 37 (lent by Mrs. Chester Beatty, London).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 79 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller).

Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting," April 25–May 24, 1959, unnumbered cat. (p. 15, lent by Mr. David Rockefeller).

Cambridge, Mass. Fogg Art Museum. "Works of Art from the Collections of the Harvard Class of 1936," June 11–August 25, 1961, no. 16 (lent by David Rockefeller).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 12–September 2, 1963, no. 28 (lent anonymously).

New York. Harvard Club. "Harvard Club Centennial," May 1–14, 1965, no catalogue? [see Exh. Philadelphia 1966].

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Édouard Manet, 1832–1883," November 3–December 11, 1966, no. 102 (lent from a private collection, New York).

Art Institute of Chicago. "Édouard Manet, 1832–1883," January 13–February 19, 1967, no. 102.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "The Past Rediscovered: French Painting, 1800–1900," July 3–September 7, 1969, no. 55 (lent from a private collection, New York).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Masterpieces from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Manet to Picasso," June 9–September 6, 1994, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Origins of Impressionism," September 27, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 112.

Joséphin Péladan. "Le procédé de Manet d'après l'exposition de l'École des Beaux-Arts." L'Artiste 1 (February 1884), p. 102, notes that Manet's pictures of "dessertes" are equal to the best paintings of this type by Chardin.

Théodore Duret. Histoire d'Édouard Manet et de son œuvre. Paris, 1902, p. 248, no. 223, lists it with paintings dated 1875–77 and places it in the collection of M. Faure, Paris; catalogues a smaller picture of the same subject (RW251).

Notice sur la collection J.-B. Faure suivie du catalogue des tableaux formant cette collection. Paris, 1902, p. 21, no. 34, dates it 1870.

Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Manuscrit de l'œuvre d'Édouard Manet, peinture et pastels. [1906], unpaginated, no. 219 [Département des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris].

Hans Rosenhagen. "Aus den Berliner Kunstsalons." Die Kunst für Alle 22 (November 1906), p. 72.

Frank Rinder. "London Exhibitions." Art-Journal (August 1906), p. 241.

Athenæum (June 30, 1906), p. 805.

The Times (June 15, 1906) [see Ref. Sutton 1954].

F. Wedmore. "Manet in Bond Street." Standard (June 15, 1906) [see Ref. Rouart and Wildenstein 1975].

C. Phillips. "Pictures by Manet." Daily Telegraph (June 21, 1906) [see Ref. Rouart and Wildenstein 1975].

George Moore. "Erinnerungen an die Impressionisten." Kunst und Künstler 5 (November 1906), p. 73, ill.

Rudolf Adelbert Meyer. "Manet und Monet." Die Kunst Unserer Zeit 19 (1908), p. 48, ill., as in the Faure collection.

Gabriel Mourey. "The French Fine Art Section." The Franco-British Exhibition: Illustrated Review. London, 1908, p. 130.

G. J. Wolf. "Édouard Manet." Die Kunst für Alle 26 (January 1, 1911), pp. 152, 168, ill., calls it "Stilleben" and erroneously dates it 1877.

Julius Meier-Graefe. Édouard Manet. Munich, 1912, pp. 282, 284, 286, fig. 83, as in the collection of Durand-Ruel, New York; dates it 1870.

Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Manet raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1926, vol. 2, pp. 44, 115, 129, no. 85, figs. 227 and 347, publishes a photograph of it in Manet's Paris exhibition of 1884.

A. Tabarant. Manet, histoire catalographique. Paris, 1931, p. 203, no. 154.

Charles Léger. Édouard Manet. Paris, 1931, pl. 13, as in the collection of Leonard Gow, Glasgow.

Paul Jamot and Georges Wildenstein. Manet. Paris, 1932, vol. 1, p. 140, no. 181; vol. 2, fig. 407, as in the collection of Leonard Gow, Glasgow.

Christian Zervos. "A propos de Manet." Cahiers d'art 7 (1932), pp. 320–21, ill., compares it unfavorably to Chardin's "Brioche fleurie" (Musée du Louvre, Paris).

Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, pp. 24, 109, under no. 197, as in the collection of Mrs. Chester Beatty, London; compares it to Cézanne's "Un dessert" (V197), finding the two tables very similar.

Robert Rey. Manet. English ed. [French ed. 1938]. New York, 1938, pp. 157, 163, ill., erroneously lists it as still in the Gow collection.

Gotthard Jedlicka. Édouard Manet. Zürich, 1941, pp. 195, 198–99, 405 n. 4, ill. opp. p. 199.

A. Tabarant. Manet et ses œuvres. 4th ed. (1st. ed. 1942). Paris, 1947, pp. 178–79, 537, 607, no. 161, ill., as in the collection of Mrs. Chester Beatty, London; dates it June–July 1870; states that Faure bought it from the artist.

Michel Florisoone. Manet. Monaco, 1947, pp. XV, XVII, pl. 46, notes the influence of Chardin.

Germain Bazin. L'époque impressionniste. Paris, 1947, pl. 45, erroneously as in the Gow collection.

Benno Reifenberg. Manet. Bern, 1947, pl. 20.

Charles Sterling. La Nature morte de l'antiquité à nos jours. Paris, 1952, pp. 88, 92, mentions the influence of Chardin's "Brioche fleurie" (Musée du Louvre, Paris).

James Thrall Soby. "Collectors' Choice." The Saturday Review (July 2, 1955), p. 34?, ill., states that it makes firm Manet's position as chief herald of modern art; notes its inspirational "tonal radiance" and technical virtuosity that inspired later artists and restored autonomy to painting.

"50 of the Most Fashionable Paintings in the World." Art News 58 (April 1959), p. 30.

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, p. 219, ill. (color).

J. Mathey. Graphisme de Manet: Peintures réapparues. Vol. 2, Paris, 1963, p. 36, pl. 110 (detail).

Anne Coffin Hanson. Édouard Manet, 1832–1883. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1966, pp. 117–19, no. 102, ill. (overall and detail), as in a private collection, New York.

George Heard Hamilton. "Is Manet Still 'Modern'?" Art News Annual 31 (1966), p. 126, ill., notes the Louis XV marquetry table.

Sandra Orienti in The Complete Paintings of Manet. New York, 1967, pp. 98–99, no. 137, ill.

Ronald Pickvance. A Man of Influence: Alex Reid, 1854–1928. Exh. cat.Edinburgh, 1967, pp. 10, 14, claims that Reid bought this picture in Paris in 1887 [this is the version in a private collection, France], and bought it again in Paris in 1923; states that he organized the 1923 London exhibition, and then "with slight modifications and additions" brought the exhibition to Kelvingrove, in Glasgow.

Anthea Callen. "Jean-Baptiste Faure, 1830–1914: A Study of a Patron and Collector of the Impressionists and their Contemporaries." Master's thesis, University of Leicester, 1971, p. 259a, no. 380, fig. 5, gives precise dates of Durand-Ruel ownership with stock numbers.

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. 4th rev. ed. New York, 1973, p. 219, ill. (color).

Anthea Callen. "Faure and Manet." Gazette des beaux-arts 83 (March 1974), p. 172, notes that it was listed as no. 34 in Faure's "Notice" of 1902 [see Ref. 1902], a catalogue of his paintings.

Denis Rouart and Daniel Wildenstein. Édouard Manet, catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1975, vol. 1, pp. 144–45, no. 157, ill., state that Nielsen owned this work by 1918.

Anne Coffin Hanson. "A Tale of Two Manets." Art in America 67 (December 1979), pp. 62, 66, 68 n. 46, ill., discusses the early provenances of the three versions of the subject [see Notes].

Charles F. Stuckey. "What's Wrong with this Picture?" Art in America 69 (September 1981), pp. 104, 106, ill. (color).

Charles S. Moffett in Manet, 1832–1883. Ed. Françoise Cachin and Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983, p. 213, under no. 80 [French ed., Paris, 1983].

Charles F. Stuckey and Juliet Wilson-Bareau in Édouard Manet. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1986, p. 161, under no. 29.

Françoise Cachin. Manet. [Paris], 1990, p. 151, no. 10, ill., as in a private collection, New York.

Éric Darragon. Manet. Paris, 1991, p. 206.

Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1991–1992." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 50 (Fall 1992), p. 44, ill. (color).

Henri Loyrette in Origins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 154, 165, 174, 297, 324, 416, no. 112, ill. (fig. 211 [color] and black and white) [French ed., Paris, 1994, pp. 154, 165, 174, 297, 326, 413, no. 112, ill. (fig. 211 [color] and black and white)], suggests that it was painted in July or August of 1870, while Manet was staying with Giuseppe de Nittis at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

David Rockefeller and J. Kirk T. Varnedoe in Masterpieces from The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Manet to Picasso. Ed. J. Kirk T. Varnedoe. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1994, pp. 8, 16, 22–23, 28, 66–67, ill. (color), comments on its purchase from Paul Rosenberg, who bought a major portion of the Chester Beattie [sic] collection; compares it with Cézanne's "Still Life with Fruit Dish" from the same collection.

Henri Loyrette in Cézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 114 [French ed., Paris, 1995, p.113], suggests that while Manet imitated Chardin's "La brioche" (Musée du Louvre, Paris), Cézanne in turn followed Manet's example.

Hans Körner. Edouard Manet: Dandy, Flaneur, Maler. Munich, 1996, pp. 202–3, fig. 175.

Jeannene Przyblyski. "Courbet, the Commune, and the Meaning of Still Life in 1871." Art Journal 55 (Summer 1996), pp. 32–33, fig. 7, reads social meaning into the various combined elements of the painting, stating that "it resonates with old aristocratic models of casual display . . . that were increasingly appropriated by the bourgeoisie as it shaped the character of modern society in its own image".

George Mauner and Henri Loyrette. Manet: The Still-Life Paintings. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. New York, 2000, p. 43, fig. 25 (color) [French ed., "Manet: Les natures mortes," Paris, 2000, p. 57, fig. 25 (color)].

Eliza E. Rathbone in Impressionist Still Life. Ed. Eliza E. Rathbone and George T. M. Shackelford. Exh. cat., Phillips Collection. New York, 2001, pp. 14–16, fig. 5 (color), notes the influence of Velázquez in the use of color.

Carol Armstrong. Manet Manette. New Haven, 2002, pp. 275–76, fig. 145.

Manuela B. Mena Marqués in Manet en el Prado. Ed. Manuela B. Mena Marqués. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2003, pp. 348, 493.

Lesley Stevenson in Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists and the Art of the Past. Ed. Ann Dumas. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Denver, 2007, p. 195, fig. 87 (color).

Frances Fowle. Impressionism and Scotland. Exh. cat., National Gallery Complex. Edinburgh, 2008, pp. 75, 130, states that Leonard Gow purchased it from Alex Reid in 1923 for £10,500, adding erroneously that this is the same picture that Reid sold at the Hôtel Drouot in 1898.

Manet painted a smaller version of the same subject which Rouart and Wildenstein date 1876 (RW251; private collection, France). A third painting of a brioche was sold at Christie's, New York, on November 15, 1983, no. 57, and is dated 1880 in the sale catalogue.
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