Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet was the figurehead of a generation of artists who saw him as a champion of experimental and non-conformist art. As a friend of Baudelaire, he was at the very front of the artistic avant-garde, yet he remained personally conservative and eager to please. It was his ability to create something new from the most conventional of subjects that ensured his continuing fame as well as a deeply felt ambivalence amongst his critics, who until recently have expressed contradictory views that he was both a genius and lacking in imagination. His achievement lay in the unrivalled originality with which he portrayed the Paris of his days, as epitomized in the 'Bar at the Folies-Bergere'.