‘Manet: Portraying Life’ at the Royal Academy of Arts

On 26 January 2013, the main galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London will open their doors to the first ever retrospective of Édouard Manet’s portraiture in the UK. Containing over 50 paintings brought together for the first time from public and private collections across Europe, Asia and the USA, ‘Manet: Portraying Life’ was curated by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio (where the exhibition was on display before travelling to London).

In order to examine Manet’s strong engagement with portraiture (a genre that he favoured so much that half of his artistic output is made of portraits), the exhibition explores the artist’s personal world against the background of nineteenth century Parisian society by grouping the paintings in thematic sections such as ‘The Artist and his Family’ (featuring Suzanne Leenhof Manet and Léon Koëlla Leenhof), ‘Manet and his Artist Friends’ (including Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzalès and Claude Monet), ‘Manet and his Literary and Theatrical Friends’ (with Emile Zola, Zacharie Astruc, Théodore Duret, George Moore, Stéphane Mallarmé and Fanny Claus), ‘Status Portraits’ (including Georges Clemenceau, Henri Rochefort and Antonin Proust) and ‘The Artist and his Models’ (featuring friends such as Méry Laurent and Isabelle Lemonnier and professional models such as Victorine Meurent).