“A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”

Art A Fact

Edouard Manet, "Bar at Folies-Bergere" 1882. Oil on canvas. Edouard Manet, “Bar at Folies-Bergere” 1882. Oil on canvas.

I seem to be a bit of a Francophile lately! (Next post will have to be of non-French origins!) But Edouard Manet is one of my all time favorites – specifically for his ability to render such stunning scenes of Realism with a controversial or unexpected twist. The Folies Bergere was an infamous nightclub and brothel in Bohemian Paris, and is the site of much 19th century Parisian mythology. It was said that the barmaids were ‘vendors of drink and of love’. What makes this painting so strange is the distortion of space. Some critics of the time believed it was purely an accident; that Manet was not skilled enough to render space realistically, for, this image involves a mirror and it feels like an improper use of linear perspective. What we are seeing is the reflection of this barmaid (her name was…

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