Manet undertook only six portraits of his wife, the Dutch pianist Suzanne Leenhoff, in the years after their marriage in 1863. Half were left unfinished, including the present work, providing rare insight into the artist’s technique. He sketched the figure and background with broad strokes, then turned to the facial features, scraping off the face at least twice, before eventually abandoning the picture.
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Artist:Edouard Manet (French, Paris 1832–1883 Paris)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:39 1/2 x 30 7/8 in. (100.3 x 78.4 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967
the sitter, the artist's widow, Suzanne Manet, Paris (1883–94; sold on March 26, 1894, as "Moi chapeau noir / manteau gris" [Me, black hat / gray coat], for Fr 60, to Vollard); [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, 1894–95; sold on March 5, 1895, as "esquisse de Manet / Mme Manet au chapeau / noir et manteau gris," for Fr 250 to Ménard-Dorian]; Mme Louise Aline Ménard-Dorian, Paris (1895–d. 1929; her sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, December 2, 1929, no. 12, for Fr 155,000 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, 1929–35; New York stock no. 5141; sold on February 20, 1935, for $11,500 to de Groot]; Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York (1935–d. 1967; on loan to The Met, 1936)
Prague. Spolku Výtvarných Umelcu. "Výstava Francouzského Umení XIX. a XX. Století," May–June 1923, no. 84 (lent by Menard [sic] Dorian).
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum. "Exposition rétrospective de l'art français," July 3–October 3, 1926, no. 67 (lent by Mme Ménard-Dorian).
Art Gallery of Toronto. "Modern French Painting, From Manet to Matisse," January 1933, no. 22 (lent by Durand-Ruel, New York).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists," October 15–November 10, 1934, no. 8 (probably this picture).
New York. Perls Galleries. "Masterpieces from the Collection of Adelaide Milton de Groot," April 14–May 3, 1958, no. 2.
Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. "Masterpieces from the Adelaide Milton de Groot Collection," December 2, 1958–March 1, 1959, no. 23.
Columbia, S.C. Columbia Museum of Art. "Impressionism," April 3–May 8, 1960, no. 18.
Hanover, N.H. Hopkins Art Center, Dartmouth College. "Impressionism, 1865–1885," November 1–December 1962, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Manet, 1832–1883," September 10–November 27, 1983, not in catalogue.
Naples. Museo di Capodimonte. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," December 3, 1986–February 1, 1987, no. 24.
Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," March 4–May 10, 1987, no. 24.
Fort Lauderdale. Museum of Art. "Corot to Cézanne: 19th Century French Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 22, 1992–April 11, 1993, no catalogue.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 60.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 77).
Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal. "Edouard Manet," October 24, 2017–February 25, 2018, unnumbered cat. (ill. p. 272).
Madrid. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. "The Impressionists and Photography," October 15, 2019–January 26, 2020, no. 112.
Théodore Duret. Histoire d'Édouard Manet et de son œuvre. Paris, 1902, p. 219, no. 106, lists it under 1866–68, calls it a sketch, and places it in the collection of M. Ménard-Dorian, Paris.
Etienne Moreau-Nélaton. Manuscrit de l'œuvre d'Édouard Manet, peinture et pastels. , unpaginated, no. 107 [Département des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris].
Théodore Duret. Manet and the French Impressionists. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1910]. London, 1912, p. 229, no. 106.
Etienne Moreau-Nélaton. Manet raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1926, vol. 1, p. 109, fig. 118, dates it about 1869.
Exposition rétrospective d'art français. Exh. cat., Musée de l'État [Rijksmuseum]. Amsterdam, 1926, p. 51, no. 67, calls it unfinished and dates it about 1868.
A. Tabarant. Manet, histoire catalographique. Paris, 1931, pp. 161–62, no. 121.
Paul Jamot and Georges Wildenstein. Manet. Paris, 1932, vol. 1, pp. 133–34, no. 135; vol. 2, fig. 55, date it 1866 and erroneously list it as no. 14 in the 1867 Manet exhibition at the Place de l'Alma.
Exhibition of Modern French Painting, From Manet to Matisse. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Toronto. Toronto, 1933, p. 7, no. 22, dates it 1869.
Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists. Exh. cat., Durand-Ruel. New York, 1934, unpaginated, no. 8, dates it 1869.
A.[lfred] M. F.[rankfurter]. "Paintings by the Impressionists Recently Added to American Collections: Part I." Art News 34 (May 23, 1936), pp. 5–6, ill., dates it about 1869.
Harry B. Wehle. "A Loan of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 31 (October 1936), p. 209.
Robert Rey. Manet. English ed. [French ed. 1938]. New York, 1938, p. 162, no. 62, ill., dates it 1866.
A. Tabarant. Manet et ses œuvres. 4th ed. (1st. ed. 1942). Paris, 1947, pp. 129–30, 536, no. 124, fig. 124, dates it 1866 and notes that Jamot and Wildenstein [Ref. 1932] erroneously include it in the 1867 exhibition.
Harry B. Wehle. "The de Groot Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (June 1948), p. 270, ill., includes it in the 1867 Avenue de l'Alma exhibition.
Masterpieces from the Collection of Adelaide Milton de Groot. Exh. cat., Perls Galleries. New York, 1958, unpaginated, no. 2, fig. 2, dates it about 1867.
Sandra Orienti inThe Complete Paintings of Manet. New York, 1967, p. 96, no. 108, ill., dates it 1866.
Denis Rouart and Daniel Wildenstein. Édouard Manet, catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1975, vol. 1, pp. 112–13, no. 117, ill., date it 1866; do not include it in the Avenue de l'Alma Exhibition of 1867.
Charles S. Moffett inManet, 1832–1883. Ed. Françoise Cachin and Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983, pp. 331, 426, 441 [French ed., Paris, pp. 331, 442], states that "technical evidence indicates that Manet began to paint her face . . . and scraped it off three times before finally abandoning" this portrait.
Charles F. Stuckey. "Manet Revised: Whodunit?" Art in America 71 (November 1983), p. 161.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 38–39, ill. (color), discusses the dating, noting that it recalls Manet's work of the late 1860s, but comments that the character of the brushwork is similar to "that of a much later but also unfinished picture, 'Le Clarion,' [Wildenstein & Co., New York] of 1882".
Gary Tinterow et al. Capolavori impressionisti dei musei americani. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Milan, 1987, pp. 58–59, no. 24, ill. (color).
Roger Hurlburt. "Free Spirits." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) (December 20, 1992), p. 4D, suggests that "some critics believe another artist touched up the face to make the picture suitable for exhibit".
Vivien Perutz. Édouard Manet. Lewisburg, Pa., 1993, p. 79.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 444, ill., as "Madame Édouard Manet (Suzanne Leenhoff, 1830–1906)".
Beth Archer Brombert. Édouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat. Boston, 1996, pp. 143, 207–9, 296, dates it 1866.
Andrea Kirsh and Rustin S. Levenson. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. New Haven, 2000, p. 265.
Jill Berk Jiminez inDictionary of Artists' Models. Ed. Jill Berk Jiminez and Joanna Banham. London, 2001, pp. 319, 321, dates it 1860s and states that Manet scraped off her face three times before leaving it unfinished.
Rebecca A. Rabinow and Jayne S. Warman inCézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. Ed. Rebecca A. Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2006, p. 276, without identifying the painting, lists Mme Ménard-Dorian as the buyer.
Richard R. Brettell and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. Ed. Sara Campbell. Vol. 1, New Haven, 2006, pp. 266–67, fig. 69c, date it about 1874–76.
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 88, 230, no. 60, ill. (color and black and white).
Ton van Kempen and Nicoline van de Beek. Madame Manet: Muziek en Kunst in het Parijs van de Impressionisten. Culemborg, 2014, p. 243 n. 10, p. 313 n. 8, ill. (color).
Andrea Bayer and Nicholas Cullinan inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 103.
Asher Ethan Miller inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 299, colorpl. 77, states that recent comparison of the sitter's dress and hat with Parisian fashion plates suggests a date of about 1873; discusses the artist's technique.
Edouard Manet. Ed. Gerhard Finckh. Exh. cat., Von der Heydt-Museum. Wuppertal, 2017, p. 272, ill. (color).
David Pullins. Manet: Three Paintings from the Norton Simon Museum. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2019, pp. 63, 67–70, 72–74, 79 n. 47, fig. 25 (color), dates it about 1876 based on his proposal that both The Met's picture and "Madame Manet" (Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena), which he also dates about 1876, are likely studies for "Madame Manet in the Conservatory" (here dated 1876, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo); discusses the painting's technique and its final state with a "scraped down" face; notes that the sitter's clothes are almost identical in all three pictures and that the hat she wears is also visible on the bench next to the sitter in the Oslo picture, as well as on her head in x-radiographs of both the Pasadena and Oslo pictures; remarks on the shared three-quarter pose in the New York and Oslo portraits.
Paloma Alarcó. The Impressionists and Photography. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2019, p. 182, no. 112, ill. p. 194 (color), states that the portrait provides a sense of Manet's working method of first sketching the body and then focusing on the face.
Clara Marcellán inThe Impressionists and Photography. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2019, p. 279, no. 112.
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