This work has always been thought to belong to the group of floral still lifes that Manet painted in the mid-1860s and, hence, to be contemporary with the Museum's Peonies (1976.201.16). However, the thick application of paint and warm palette suggest a date of about 1860. In fact, the same gold-and-blue patterned tablecloth appears in Manet's Portrait of the Artist's Parents (Musée d'Orsay, Paris), which is signed and dated 1860. As such, this may well be Manet's earliest flower painting.
Manet gave this still life to artist Berthe Morisot's sister, Yves, possibly on the occasion of her marriage to Théodore Gobillard in December 1866.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Ed. M.
Mme Théodore Gobillard (née Yves Morisot), ?Paris (given to her by the artist; until d. 1893); by descent to her daughter, Jeanne Gobillard, later Mme Paul Valéry, Paris (by 1931–at least 1954); [art dealer, Paris, until 1959; sold to Marlborough]; [Marlborough, London, 1959; sold in July to private collection]; private collection, London (1959); Loris Franck, London (from 1959); [Stephen Hahn, New York]; [Eugene Thaw, New York, until 1968; sold on March 7 to Dillon]; Douglas Dillon, New York (from 1968)
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition d'œuvres de Manet au profit des 'Amis du Luxembourg'," April 14–May 4, 1928, no. 23 (as "Les pivoines").
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Édouard Manet, 1832–1883," March 19–April 17, 1937, no. 8 (as "Bouquet de pivoines," lent by M. et Mme Paul Valéry, Paris).
Buenos Aires. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. "La pintura francesa de David à nuestros días," July 18–August 1939, no. 83 (lent by M. et Mme Paul Valéry, Paris).
San Francisco. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. "The Painting of France since the French Revolution," December 1940–January 1941, no. 66 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Valéry, Paris).
Paris. Galerie Charpentier. "Natures mortes françaises du XVIIe siècle à nos jours," 1951, no. 107 (as "Pivoines dans un bock").
Rotterdam. Museum Boymans. "Vier Eeuwen Stilleven in Frankrijk," July 10–September 20, 1954, no. 87 (lent by a private collection).
London. Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. "XIXth and XXth-Century French Masters," October–November 1956, no. 21.
London. Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. "A Selection of Important 19th-Century French Masters," October 1960, no. 15.
A. Tabarant. Manet, histoire catalographique. Paris, 1931, pp. 90–91, no. 61, dates this painting 1862 and suggests that it was done prior to the series of peonies executed in 1864.
Paul Jamot and Georges Wildenstein. Manet. Paris, 1932, vol. 1, p. 129, no. 106; vol. 2, fig. 389, date it 1864.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Manet: First American Retrospective." Art News 35 (March 20, 1937), p. 14.
Édouard Manet, 1832–1883. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1937, p. 25, no. 8, pl. VIII, dates it about 1864.
Germain Bazin. La pintura francesa de David a nuestros días. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Buenos Aires, 1939, p. 91, no. 83, dates it 1862.
A. Tabarant. Manet et ses œuvres. 4th ed. (1st. ed. 1942). Paris, 1947, pp. 93, 535, no. 78, dates it 1861 or 1862, but lists it with works from 1864.
Vier Eeuwen Stilleven in Frankrijk. Exh. cat., Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Rotterdam, 1954, pp. 76–77, no. 87, pl. 43, dates it about 1864.
XIXth and XXth Century French Masters. Exh. cat., Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. London, 1956, pp. 17–18, no. 21, ill., dates it 1862.
Sandra Orienti inThe Complete Paintings of Manet. New York, 1967, p. 90, no. 38, ill., dates it 1861–62.
Denis Rouart and Daniel Wildenstein. Édouard Manet, catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1975, vol. 1, pp. 94–95, no. 89, ill., date it 1864.
Sandra Orienti. Tout Manet, 1853–1873: La peinture. Paris, 1981, vol. 1, pp. 28–29, no. 36, ill., dates it 1861.
Françoise Cachin. Manet. [Paris], 1990, p. 148, no. 25, ill., dates it 1861.
Henri Loyrette inOrigins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 405 n. 1, under no. 98.
Susan Alyson Stein in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1993–1994." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 52 (Fall 1994), p. 46, ill. (color), dates it about 1860, rather than grouping it with his series of peonies that date from 1864–65, and suggests that it may be Manet's earliest known flower painting.
George Mauner and Henri Loyrette. Manet: The Still-Life Paintings. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. New York, 2000, p. 84 [French ed., "Manet: Les natures mortes," Paris, 2000, p. 98], dates it 1862.
Gary Tinterow and Susan Alyson Stein. "Une pivoine pour Françoise Cachin." Mélanges en hommage à Françoise Cachin. Ed. Henri Loyrette et al. Paris, 2002, pp. 130–31, fig. 42, discuss the dating of this picture, noting that the table rug that appears here is the same one that is in the portrait of Manet's parents (RW30; Musée d'Orsay, Paris) which is dated 1860; consider the possibility that the rug remained in the studio for a few more years, but point to the dark palette and dense facture that suggests a date before 1860 rather than after; find the choice of subject intriguing and question to whom the pearls and fan belong, suggesting that the pearls probably belonged to his mother and discount the possibility that the fan is somehow linked to Berthe Morisot whom he had not met yet.
This picture may be Manet's earliest flower painting and was made before a series of five still lifes of peonies from 1864–65 (RW 1975, nos. 86, 88, and 91, Musée d'Orsay, Paris; no. 87, MMA; no. 90, private collection, New York) as well as a reprise from about 1883 (RW426, Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Riezler).