Monday, 29 March 2010

Manet versus Degas


These two old dandies stuck it out in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and I like them for that. Some 'revolutionaries' like Courbet and Zola scarpered out of Paris before the siege began. This painting is somewhere in a Japanese private collection now. They fell out over it as Manet thought that Degas made his wife look plain and dowdy, and himself lazy and bourgeois- so he slashed it. Degas offered to return a small painting of plums which Manet had given him, but Manet told him to keep it. Degas took the portrait back to repair, but never got round to finishing it. They didn't talk much after the episode.