Children in the Tuileries Gardens
Édouard Manet, French, Children in the Tuileries Gardens, ca. 1861-1862, Oil on canvas; 37.8 x 46 cm (14 7/8 x 18 1/8 inches), Museum Appropriation Fund 42.190
In 1862 Édouard Manet completed a painting of elegant Parisians gathered in the Tuileries Gardens for an afternoon of music and socializing. He had developed an idea for that composition in this small, theatrically staged picture of children. A trio of young girls in white dresses are seen from the back while an older girl in black appears to direct them. Even in these doll-like figures, Manet captures details of contemporary costume. A man in a straw hat sits at ease at far left. At right, a female attendant wearing a red turban holds a hoop for her well-dressed charge. Although Manet’s brushstroke is characteristically wide and loose, he uses it to generate both active and static passages. Rhythmically alternating the dark tree trunks against the garden’s sandy paths, he creates a sense of movement and light around the barely animated children.