Manet and Modern Beauty

The first Art Institute exhibition devoted exclusively to Édouard Manet in over 50 years focuses on the transformation of the artist’s style in his later years.

By the late 1870s, Édouard Manet had become recognized as a painter of modern life. While he continued to pursue highly finished, heroically scaled paintings intended for the Salon, he simultaneously approached smaller works more fluidly and spontaneously, taking up pastel and watercolor while unapologetically embracing beauty and visual pleasure. This exhibition is the first to focus on this important period in the artist’s career, bringing together an impressive array of portraits of fashionable women as well as intimate male friends. Supplementing this display are the delicate and rarely seen letters Manet wrote to his friends, featuring exquisite illustrations of fruits and flowers; garden pictures, which themselves often feature fashionable women; and flower studies, consummate expressions of Manet’s colorist art at the end of his life.

Gloria Groom, chair of European painting and sculpture and David and Mary Winton Green Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago
Scott Allan, associate curator of paintings at the J.Paul Getty Museum
Emily A. Beeny, associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Manet and Modern Beauty has been co-organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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