The Getty Center
Date: Saturday & Sunday, December 7 & 8, 2019


My Garden (The Bench), painting by Manet

Manet and Modern Beauty: A Conversation

Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Join co-curators Scott Allan and Emily Beeny of the Getty Museum and Gloria Groom of the Art Institute of Chicago for a discussion about their exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty. They will give an overview of the artist's late work and a glimpse behind the scenes of making the show.


The Cafe-Concert, painting by Manet

Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Experience the 19th-century French music of Manet's era. Faculty from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Music explore the impact of music on Manet's work and life, performing songs and intimate pieces for piano and guitar by Chabrier, Astruc, Chausson, Cabaner, Bosh, Wagner, and Bizet.


Woman Reading, painting by Manet

New Directions

Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Leading American and European scholars share a wide range of new critical perspectives on Manet's life and work. This symposium complements and provides a broader context for the exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty, which concentrates on the last years of Édouard Manet's career and explores in particular his heightened attention in this period to fashionable femininity in works like the Getty Museum's Jeanne (Spring).

Symposium Schedule

Speaker Bios


Manet, A New Order of Things
André Dombrowski

Manet is often said to have configured the world according to a new random order, favoring artful contrivance over reportage. Lemons appear in unexpected places; meals do not make sense. But such new orders of "meaninglessness" can only be fully understood within a period economy in which the material real was framed by a very different system of value and waste, of reuse and refuse, compared to our own. This talk will place Manet's still-life practice within the histories of secondhand trading, ragpicking, and recycling prevalent in the late 19th century, the system that informs their seemingly eccentric choices.

Olympia in Context: Modes of Portraying the Black Presence in Manet's Paris
Denise Murrell

Manet described the model who posed as the flower-bearing servant in his iconic painting Olympia as "Laure, a very beautiful black woman," and he depicted her in varying scenes of Parisian life. We will consider the intersection of tradition and modernity in portrayals of black Parisians by Manet and his contemporaries, together with the culturally blended subject position of the models, as a representation of the fraught interracial aspect of French society in the first decades after the final French abolition of territorial enslavement.

Manet's Black Paint
Hollis Clayson

Is black a color? Or is it a nullity, a void; the absence of color? I will grapple with these fundamental questions about black within the framework of Manet's frequent use of carbon black oil paint. To what effects? Often, I will argue, to negate, to deny or interrupt the illusion of volume, to introduce dark notes and counterpoints, to devenustate (to resurrect a Leo Steinberg chestnut), and to introduce ambiguity by denying or complicating depictive consistency. A range of genre paintings, portraits, floral still lives, and seascapes will be under consideration.

Manet Across Media in the 1860s
Kathryn Kremnitzer

Throughout the 1860s, Manet employed watercolor as an intermediary between painting and printmaking, enabling pictorial revision from canvas to copperplate. Though scholars have long acknowledged relationships between his paintings and both traditional and new print media—more recently photography—the watercolors have been largely overlooked and remain virtually unknown to the museum-going public. This paper, adapted from my PhD dissertation, takes Lola de Valence as a case study to demonstrate how the watercolors can be studied anew, thanks to collaborative research, and the kinds of image genealogies by which Manet's total output in the 1860s may be better understood.

Mme Eugène Manet and her Brother-in-Law
Kathleen Adler

Berthe Morisot married Edouard Manet's brother in 1874. This paper looks at her continuing relationship with the artist who had been captivated by her in the late 1860s and early 1870s, at the artistic interchange in terms of ideas and technique during Manet's lifetime, and at the impact of his work on her practice following Manet's death in 1883. Morisot's pair of Summer and Winter images are closely connected to Manet's Spring and Autumn, while Manet's self-portrait, hung in Morisot's home, was the inspiration behind her own self-portrait, unfinished and hidden from view until after her death.

The London Moment
Stéphane Guégan

Stéphane Mallarmé's contributions to the British press, between October 1875 and September 1876, marked a particular time frame regarding the critical support he was giving to Manet's career then. Both in London and Paris, the painter's radical aesthetic had still to be asserted by all means. While Emile Zola himself proved to be less determined to do so, Mallarmé became the voice of Manet, claiming since 1874 that the latter was the leader of the French School and the modern poets' favorite artist. By looking at Mallarmé's letters and the articles he published in L'Athenaeum and The Art Monthly Review about art, literature and even politics, the purpose of this paper is to reexamine how Mallarmé writings shed light on Manet's motivations, strategic moves and aesthetic shifts after the storm that Argenteuil (Tournai Museum) caused at the Salon of 1875, previous to the one it raised in London next year.

Édouard Manet's Portrait of Eugène Pertuiset (1880-1881) and the Lion Hunter, Denatured
Katie Hornstein

Édouard Manet's last large-scale painting represents his close friend Eugène Pertuiset posing in a Parisian park with an inanimate lion that ambiguously resembles a pelt or a recently killed corpse. Pertuiset was a celebrity figure in late 19th-century France renowned for his hunting exploits and his invention of a bullet intended to kill large game and lions in particular. By representing Pertuiset as both a boulevard dandy and a killer of lions, Manet undermined a cherished 19th-century stereotype of the masculine, rugged lion hunter and as I will argue in this paper, denatured it, revealing it to be farcical, artificial, and empty. This "denaturing" found its analogue in the actual conditions of lions in Algeria: barely ten years after Manet painted this portrait, they went extinct.

Among Men: Some Portraits by Manet in the 1870s
Margaret Werth

This exhibition of Manet's late work is oriented around ideas of "modern beauty" associated with femininity, depictions of women, and oppositional pairings of pictures that frequently subverted normative expectations. This paper considers masculinity in Manet's paintings of the 1870s by examining a selection of portraits that put in play various facts and fictions of male identity, both the artist's and those of the friends and colleagues he portrayed. These portrait encounters raise issues of difference within and between men and of dynamics of animation and de-animation, publicness and privacy, and the spatial and temporal dimensions of Manet's male portraits.

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