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Edouard Manet, 'Eva Gonzalès', 1870

Key facts
Full title Eva Gonzalès
Artist Edouard Manet
Artist dates 1832 - 1883
Date made 1870
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 191.1 × 133.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3259
Location Room 44
Collection Main Collection
Eva Gonzalès
Edouard Manet

Eva Gonzalès (1847–1883), Manet’s only formal pupil, was a successful artist and a regular exhibitor at the Salon. This portrait was probably started in the summer of 1869 and involved numerous sittings. It was finally finished in March 1870 and shown at the Salon the same year.

Manet had painted other artists (both men and women), but this portrait is unusual in that it shows Gonzalès painting at her easel. The work on the easel, already finished and framed, is a copy after an etching by the flower painter Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636–1699). A half-rolled print carrying Manet’s signature lies on the floor, a reminder of his role as her teacher. Her pose, along with the white dress and the fluidity of the brushstrokes with which it is painted, recall eighteenth-century self portraits by women. In these they show themselves at their easels, dressed in beautiful, often white gowns, which attest to their success. Here, her flowing white dress fills the composition, its brightness heightened by the dark background so that it becomes a source of illumination in its own right.

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