Edouard Manet
(Paris, 1832-1883, Paris)
The Dressing-Table, ca. 1880
Pastel on canvas, 55 x 46 cm
Signed with monogram lower right: E. M.
Rouart/Wildenstein Pastels 25
The pastel technique appears in Manet’s work only at the end of the 70s for preliminary studies for larger pictures. In the picture of the artist’s wife on the bright blue sofa, in the Louvre, Manet has already achieved mastery of this form of painting. From 1879 on, the pastel then plays an increasingly important role in his work. Approximately eighty pastel pictures are done in the final years of Manet's life. The crayons are easier for the ailing artist to handle, and they are ideal for the graceful portrait studies of young women which he mainly does in pastel, while male portraits in pastel are less frequent. As for the few female nudes in pastel in these final years, especially the bath studies, we can assume inspiration by Degas.