The Royal Academy is introducing Sunday night viewing, open until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays
The Royal Academy is offering a a rare opportunity to see a impressive collection of artwork by Manet. In fact it is the first major exhibition in Britain showcasing the Frenchman’s portraiture. Already a success, it has been dubbed the first blockbuster exhibition of the year and the advance booking has already resulted in the Royal Academy committing to opening late on Sundays.
The exhibit shows the entire career of this enigmatic and at times controversial artist, combining beautiful paintings from across Europe, Asia and the USA. It consists of more than 50 works, among them are portraits of Manet’s most frequent sitter, his wife Suzanne Leenhoff, luminaries of the period Antonin Proust, Émile Zola and Stéphane Mallarmé, and scenes from everyday life revealing Manet’s forward-thinking, modern approach to portraiture.
So who, exactly, was Édouard Manet? The eldest son of a high-ranking justice official, he was an archetypal Parisian dandy, frequenting Quartier de l’Europe cafés and hosting soirées for the artistic, literary and political avant-garde.
Often his famous friends would sit for him. Quill and inkwell within reach, Emile Zola pauses for thought at his book-laden desk, in a room of voguish japoniste decoration. Meanwhile, Georges Clemenceau, a radical in the Chamber of Deputies who’d later become prime minister, prepares to make a speech: his arms firmly folded, as befits an unwavering man of conviction.