Manet, Boats at Sea, Sunset

Édouard MANET (1832-1883), Boats at Sea, Sunset, ca. 1868, oil on canvas, 43 x 94 cmŒuvre récupérée à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. déposée en 1961 par l'Etat ; en attente de sa restitution à ses légitimes propriétaires. MNR 873. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Édouard MANET (1832-1883)
Boats at Sea, Sunset
ca. 1868
oil on canvas
43 x 94 cm
Œuvre récupérée à la fin de la
Seconde Guerre mondiale.
déposée en 1961 par l'Etat ;
en attente de sa restitution
à ses légitimes propriétaires.
MNR 873
© MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
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After refusing to study law as his father had wished and a failed attempt to enter the Naval College, Édouard Manet (1832–1883) enrolled in the atelier of Thomas Couture in 1850 and began his training as a painter. Rejected by the official exhibitions, the young artist played a leading role in the elegant bohemian life of Paris. He kept company with the painters Fantin-Latour and Degas, who lent him their support, and men of letters like the poet Baudelaire and novelist Zola, for whom he painted a famous portrait. Manet was enthusiastic about the creation of the Salon des Refusés, where he was able to present his celebrated Luncheon on the Grass in 1863 followed by Olympia two years later.

Between 1868 and 1873, Manet often spent his summers on the Normandy coast, which he knew well from when he was a child. He painted numerous seascapes, at Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1868, 1869 and 1871, and at Berck-sur-Mer in 1873. With its oblong format and spare style, Boats at Sea, Sunset from 1868 is a unique work of art. The composition is taken from the upper section of a watercolour study, currently held in Basel. Accentuating the horizontality of the work, Manet adds a boat to the upper right of the painting, but cuts off the main motif from the frame of the picture and chooses not to include the hull of the boat shown in the foreground, which is fully visible in the preparatory study. The continuity of the water and the sky, drenched in shades of soft grey, excludes any illusion of depth. Only the transparent silhouettes of the boats are outlined with a subtle backlight.

Boats at Sea, Sunset shows the influence of Japanese woodblock prints revealed at the 1867 World's Fair. The Japanese pavilion at the fair reflected this style: the prints of Hiroshige and the manga of Hokusai—the sketchbook in which the artist captured scenes of daily life in Japan—once again drew the attention of the Western world. The infatuation of collectors and writers with Japanese art could only influence an artist like Manet, who was at odds with the official art of his time. Manet opened a luminous space to diffusely scattered light evoking the colour harmonies of Whistler, who was also a Japanese art enthusiast.

Artworks in context : Impressionism (24)

Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), Washerwomen, ca. 1870-1872, oil on canvas, 15 x 21 cm. © Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / Didier Plowy
Alfred SISLEY (1839-1899), The Loing at Saint-Mammès, 1885, oil on canvas, 55 x 73.2 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Portrait of Nini Lopez, 1876, oil on canvas, 54 x 39 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), The Pilots' Jetty at Le Havre, 1903, oil on canvas, 54.5 x 65 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926), Winter Sun at Lavacourt, 1879-1880, oil on canvas, 55 x 81 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Édouard MANET (1832-1883), Boats at Sea, Sunset, ca. 1868, oil on canvas, 43 x 94 cmŒuvre récupérée à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. déposée en 1961 par l'Etat ; en attente de sa restitution à ses légitimes propriétaires. MNR 873. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Johan Barthold JONGKIND (1819-1891), Quay at Honfleur, 1866, oil on canvas, 32.5 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Snowy Landscape at Crozant, vers 1895, oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926), London Parliament, 1903, oil on canvas, 81 x 92 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, ca. 1884-1886 / 1890 / 1900, pastel on wove paper, 40.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), The Excursionist, ca. 1888, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Statue of Henri IV and Hôtel de la Monnaie, Morning, Sun, 1901, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), The Seine at Samois, ca. 1898, oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), The Creuse at Crozant, ca. 1893, oil on canvas, 60 x 73.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Johan Barthold JONGKIND (1819-1891), Paris, Pont Marie and the Quai des Célestins, 1874, oil on wood, 23.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Claude MONET (1840-1926), The Seine at Vétheuil, 1878, oil on canvas, 50. 5  x 61.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Quai du Pothuis, Banks of the Oise, 1882, oil on canvas, 46.3 x 55.3 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Sunrise at Éragny, 1894, oil on canvas, 38.3 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Crossroads at L'Hermitage, Pointoise, 1876, oil on canvas, 38.5 x 46.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Bay of Salerno or Southern Landscape, 1881, oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Woman Seen from the Back, ca. 1875-1879, oil on canvas, 27.1 x 22.1 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Pines at Cagnes, ca. 1919, oil on canvas, marouflage on cardboard, 31.5 x 38.7 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Jules CHÉRET (1836-1932), Woman in Black with Muff, ca. 1885, oil on canvas, 33 x 25 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn