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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What was with Manet?

Thirteen years ago, I chose to do a rendition of Manet's Dejuener sur l'herb, Breakfast on the Grass. as my first painting in my new home that had enough room to paint. Why I chose this as my first effort, I don't know.

Manet's scandalous painting of a prostitute stark naked in broad daylight in a park setting with a couple of fully clothed guys fascinated me as a teenage art student. It fascinated me enough to move me to paint it thirteen years ago. And it fascinated again this morning, as I was wiping up the sinks in the guest room bath where I had hung it behind the door when I finished it.

Studying it, I fully understood why everybody who has ever stayed with us overnight asked about the painting the next morning. I understood why it was refused by the Salon in 1863. It's very risque--pornographic and titillating. As a woman, I think I did find the painting embarrassing and insulting back when I was a young woman stubbornly marching for equal rights. Now, I don't. The way she's looking straight at me unashamed of her nakedness tells me she knows who she is and is aware of her power. --Maybe that's why I painted it?


My new Header Hat is the beach hat that will go with me to Cancun next month. After taking the weekend off painting to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, it was my twenty minute warm-up this morning after helplessly cleaning the guest bathroom.

The nicest comment I got on my Four Seasons quadtyck came from Honey, who told me the paintings are much more attractive in person than they are in the blog post. Photography doesn't do justice to brushstrokes.


  1. It's true, she looks so comfortable in her own skin (no pun intended).

  2. Well, Honey has an advantage, that we don't! lol... btw did u like The Help? I did, can't wait to see it ..

  3. It is a fascinating painting Agnes--she also has a look on her face that suggests she's questioning what and when is something going to happen here and I can get on with mt life.

  4. I loved the book. I had to finish it. It brought back so many memories of my childhood with a mom who always had help in the house while we were growing up. But being from the North, my mom took care of me and my brother and worked along side the women she hired to get the housework done. My mom was a cleaning fanatic; she had kept house for her mother. There was a big difference between women from the North and women from the South in the fifties. I'm going to wait for the movie on Tee Vee. --How have you been?

  5. Wow, I love that hat very much Linda. You are off to a holiday in Cancun?

    Yeah, love your brushstrokes and I am sure they look even nicer than the pics. I like your version of Manet's too.

  6. I think Manet himself was getting at the 'establishment' of the time with this painting...I have to say I really like your version.