Repose, ca. 1871
Oil on canvas
150.2 x 114 cm (59 1/8 x 44 7/8 inches)
Bequest of Mrs. Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt Gerry 59.027
Repose depicts the artist Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) resting on a plum velvet sofa in Manet’s studio. Her white summer dress billows to one side, a fan rests in her hand and above her head the animated subject of a Japanese woodblock print contrasts with her reverie. Viewers at the 1873 Paris Salon found Morisot’s casual pose to be in defiance of good taste and were uneasy with the elements of Manet’s radical style: broad, tactile paint-handling, pictorial compression, and the dominant contrast of light and dark tones. Manet called this painting a study, not a portrait, defining his concern for the visual existence of the figure over the revelation of personality. Owned first by prominent French collectors, it was purchased by George Vanderbilt in 1898, becoming one of the first paintings by Manet to enter an American collection.