Friday, 7 January 2011

Eduard Manet, Last Flowers

Eduard Manet

French Impressionist painter

In the final stage of his life on earth Manet kept on painting. Thank God. After finishing his last big Masterpiece in 1882, the famous bar scene in the Folie Bergères, his health deteriorated quickly and from his deathbed he painted the flower bouquets his friends brought to him.

He did some 16 before he died only 51 years old on April 30th 1883. These last paintings are now scattered around the world and not all that easy to locate on the Internet. It took 100 years before they were again brought together in a small but beautiful book (ISBN see below). Today these great little paintings are recognized because of their importance, composition and beauty. Maybe they are the very best he ever created.

Manet did not paint these compositions in the classic sense of just putting paint on a canvas. In those final months he showed his extraordinary talent to pick up color and light with a brush from his pallet and transferring them into his copy of the beauty and reality before him. Splashes of paint creating a perfect impressionistic optical illusion of reality. In 1882/1883.

I choose these 8 using this posting to introduce and surprise you this weekend with three extraordinary contemporary painters I discovered recently and that I would like to share next. Two Americans and a Russian.

One can’t live by woodblock prints alone. Can one?

Andrew Forge, The last Flowers of Manet. ISBN 0810914220 and 0810981645
Publisher: Abrams , Incorporated, Harry N., 1989 and 1999


  1. The problem with posting Manet is that everything else tends to look a bit dull by comparison. I swear I caught the scent of a rose from the last one. They are negligible and intense at one and the same time.

  2. Yes the are sublime paintings, but I needed to show them to introduce the next 2 artists and postings. They are only seen together in this little book. And here, now.

  3. I see white and lavender lilac; peonies and roses, clematis and maybe some dianthus.
    It's really hard to paint lilacs well.
    These are beautiful and I didn't know they existed.
    Thanks for posting these; I'll track down a copy of the catolog/book a the library to see the rest.

  4. Glad I could be of service to you. And these are truly the most intimate flower paintings I know. The book isn't that hard to find.

  5. 60 + years ago my father said to me "The purpose of life is to give more than you receive." I tried but found it hard as no one was giving back. I confronted him with this and he said, "The people who give to you may not be the people to whom you give." He of course was right. Manet gave to us. I can never give to him but thanks.

  6. I read this little treasure while studing art histry at the university. It was so well written, I could almost hear the wheels of the horse drawn hearse after his death. The collection of paintings are wonderful and I wish now I had a copy of the book.

    1. Thank you, and you should. Find a copy through or Amazon. Good luck and thanks for leaving such a nice comment. Bloggers thrive on positive comments. I do.

  7. I had the honor to be Andrew Forge's coauthor of this book. His words were heartfelt. Knowing him was a privilege. Robert Gordon

  8. Thank you Robert, I appreciate and am honored by your comment very much.