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Edouard Manet, Corner of a Café-Concert

Key facts
Full title Corner of a Café-Concert
Artist Edouard Manet
Artist dates 1832 - 1883
Date made probably 1878-80
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 97.1 × 77.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1924
Inventory number NG3858
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Corner of a Café-Concert
Edouard Manet

In August 1874 Manet began work on a large picture of the Brasserie de Reichshoffen, where he was fascinated by the skill of the waitresses. While working on the picture, he radically altered his plans and cut it in two, completing each half separately. This snapshot view of the cafe is the right side of the larger painting. The left half shows a man and two women sitting at the other side of the table. Titled Au Café, that painting is in the Reinhart Collection, Winterthur, Switzerland.

Manet enlarged the National Gallery picture by adding an extra strip of canvas along its right side to bring the waitress into the centre of the composition. Although a painting in its own right, Corner of a Café-Concert is also a fragment. But this is appropriate for its subject, as Manet offers us just a fleeting glimpse into this world, not a panoramic view of it.

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