Madame Auguste Manet - Édouard manet, 1863

Édouard manet (Paris, 1832 - 1883, Paris)

Madame Auguste Manet, 1863

Oil on canvas, 98 x 80 cm (38 9/16 x 31 1/2 in.)


Object details

Accession number


Dimension Notes

Frame: 138.2 x 119.4 cm (54 7/16 x 47 in.)


Collection of the sitter Madame Auguste Manet (Eugénie-Désirée Fournier, 1811-1895), mother of the artist Edouard Manet (1832-1883).
Exhibited in Paris at the Avenue De l'Alma, 1867.
Presumably bequeathed to Madame Manet's grandson, the French stockbroker and musician Léon Koelin-Leenhoff (1852-1927), in 1895. Certainly in his collection by 1902.
Purchased by a certain Mr. Thompson, London at the International Exhibition, White City from Léon Koelin-Leenhoff for 90,000 francs in 1909.
Purchased by the art dealer Wallis & Son (The French Gallery), London by April 1909.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Wallis & Son, London for £5,000 on 2 May 1910, through the American art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959).


Inscribed (lower right corner): Manet
Inscribed (a label affixed to the frame): Exposition de Londres Nom Leenhoff


Catalogue es Tableaux de M. Édouard Manet exposés Avenue De l'Alma en 1867. Exh. cat. (Paris: Avenue De l'Alma, 1867), p. 11. no. 14.
Theodoré Duret. Histoire d'Édouard Manet et de son oeuvre (Paris, 1902), no. 124. (as 1869-1870)
André Chatté. "Notes sur Manet." Le Journal des Curieux (Paris, 10 Mar. 1907), pp. 5-7, no. 1. (publishes an abbreviated form of a manuscript by Léon Leenhoff, now housed in the Pierpont Morgan Library, Tabarant archive)
The Nation (New York, 25 Mar. 1909), p. 313. (discusses the painting's exhibition at the International Exhibition at White City; a copy was sent to Isabella Gardner by Bernard Berenson on 10 April 1909)
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), pp. 233-34.
E. Moreau-Nélaton. Manet raconté par lui-même, vol. 1 (Paris, 1926), no. 89. (as 1866)
Albert Flament. La Vie de Manet (Paris, 1928), p. 243. (as 1866)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), p. 223-25, ill. (as an early painting by Manet)
Adolphe Tabarant. Manet, Histoire catalographique (1931), p. 109, no. 68.
Paul Jamot et al. Manet. Exh. cat. (Paris: Ércole des Beaux-arts, 1932), no. 134. (as 1866)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 25. (as 1869-1870)
Adolphe Tabarant. Manet et ses oeuvres (1947), p. 79. (as date uncertain)
Richard T. Dickinson. "Degas' Madame Gaujelin." Fenway Court (Dec. 1967), pp. 57-61, ill. (as 1869)
Sandra Orienti. The Complete Paintings of Manet (New York, 1970), p. 126, no. 63. (as 1863)
Rollin van N. Hadley et al. "Berenson and Mrs. Gardner: The Museum Years." Fenway Court (1974), p. 8.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 150-52, pl. 37. (as after Manet's visit to Madrid in 1865)
Rouart et al. Edouard Manet: Catalogue raisonné, vol. 1 (Paris, 1975), pp. 70-71, no. 62. (as 1862)
Deborah Gribbon. "Mrs. Gardner's Modern Art" in James Thomas Herbert Baily (ed.). The Connoisseur: An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors, "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum" (London, 1978), p. 17, fig. 7. (as perhaps 1862/3)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 440-49, 453-57, 460-61.
Nancy Locke. "New documentary information on Manet's 'Portrait of the artist's parents.'" The Burlington Magazine for Conoisseurs (1991), p. 250, fig. 27. (as about 1863)
Richard Lingner in Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), p. 192-93, ill. (as the year after Auguste Manet's death, 1863)
Manuela Mena (ed.). Manet en el Pardo. Exh. cat. (Madrid: Museo del Prado, 2003), pp. 153, 155, ill. (as 1863)
Jane Munro. Degas: A Passion for Perfection, Exh. cat. (Cambridge, England: The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2017), p. 60, fig. 46.

Rights and reproductions

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This portrait of the artist’s mother, Eugénie-Désirée Fournier Manet, shows her dressed in mourning for her husband, who had died the year before. The thick swatches of black and dark gray paint that form the dress resonate against the lighter, flat paint of the face and hands. The painting is essentially monochromatic and possesses a solidity reminiscent of Manet’s beloved Velázquez. Bernard Berenson called the work “a colossal thing.”

Manet’s mother had encouraged his painting from the beginning, and she remained a close confidant. His stepson described the relationship between Manet and his mother as more than close: “Edouard Manet did not have just an ordinary filial affection for his mother, but rather a real obsession."

In 1909, Isabella Stewart Gardner asked Berenson to find her a portrait by Manet, perhaps to accompany her portrait of Madame Gaujelin by Degas. Both sitters present severe personalities, and both painters found an underlying sympathy beneath these formidable exteriors.

Source: Richard Lingner, "Portrait of Madame Auguste Manet," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 193.


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