Edouard Manet - Polichinelle 1873

Polichinelle 1873
1873 50х34cm oil/canvas
Private Collection
LOT SOLD. 3,525,000 USD - Sotheby's

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From Sotheby's:
Among Manet’s scenes of modern life, still-lifes and society portraits, there are a number of extraordinary works which cannot be simply categorized as portraits, but in which the role of the sitter is elevated to a personification of artistic expression. Painted in 1873, Polichinelle’s florid features and gaudy costume joined a cast of characters who captivated Manet throughout his career, such as Le fifre, Lola de Valance and L’actor tragique. As discussed by Juliet Bareau-Wilson in the catalogue for the exhibition these works found their precedent and inspiration in the works of the Spanish Masters: “The impact of Velázquez on the art of Edouard Manet was profound.” Velázquez was, according to Manet ‘a painter’s painter’, and Manet was influenced in both his style and subject-matter from “the beginning of the 1860s by what he saw as the master’s bold and simple handling of clean, colourful pigments and by his way of placing figures on a canvas” (J. Wilson-Bareau, in Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting (exhibition catalogue), Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 2003, p. 203).
From typically Spanish subjects, such as Matadors and Majas, Manet went on to use this template to engage with more native and contemporary subjects. In these works the artist sometimes substituted or sublimated the actual profession and character of the model with a different identity, thus Le fifre may have been alternately posed for by a musician of the Imperial Gaurd, Léon Leenhof or Victorine Meurent. In the Wildenstein and Roaurt catalogue entry on the present work they state that it was the painter Edmond André who posed for Manet. André was an habitué of the Café Guerbois, where Manet chose to spend much of his time.