Edouard Manet
(Paris, 1832-1883, Paris)
The Eagle Owl, 1881
Oil on canvas, 97 x 64 cm
Signed lower right: Manet
Rouart/Wildenstein 377
Odilon Redon was wrong in advising Manet, in "La Gironde", in 1868, to confine himself strictly to still-life painting. But Manet was surely also a brilliant still-life painter. This is evidenced not only in the still lifes proper which he did through the years, but also in the still lifes with which he lavishly furnishedhis figure compositions and portraits. In the "Eagle Owl", done in 1881 and forming one of a series of six decorative panels listed in the inventory of the artist’s estate, he takes as his model the Dutch still-life painters, whom he could study at first hand in Holland in 1872. One could almost assume that Manet knew the "Dead Cock", hanging on a richly grained timber wall, by Melchior d’Hondecoeter, acquired in 1877 by the Brussels Museum from a private owner in The Hague.