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Lady with a Fan Édouard Manet


Édouard Manet Paris, 1832 – Paris, 1883

Date 1862
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

89.5 × 113 cm

Inventory number 368.B
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view Hungarian National Gallery Building D, First Floor, From Delacroix to Vasarely – Highlights from the Collection of International Art after 1800, Baroque Hall

Charles Baudelaire, the extraordinary poet who trod the path between Romanticism and Symbolism, met the mulatto actress Jeanne Duval in 1842. “Sorceress with the ebony thighs, child of black midnights,” he apostrophized her in one of his finest poems. Their liaison lasted a good ten years, but Baudelaire continued to support Duval, who was paralysed in one leg. Manet painted this “Black Venus” in 1862, at the peak of his career as a painter. The composition of the picture is not linked to prototypes, and Manet designed it masterfully. The canvas is dominated by the enormous crinoline, striped white on white, which seems to have a life of its own. The right hand resting on the curved sofa is counterpoised by the foot peeping out from under the skirt, whose emphatic positioning may refer to the tragic illness. The enchanting lace curtain in the background appears as though an arched proscenium around the haggard face of the fated, sick actress.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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