Mlle. Victorine in the Costume of an Espada (Victorine Meurent)
Mlle. Victorine in the Costume of an Espada (Victorine Meurent), 1862
Graphite, pen and ink, watercolor on tracing paper; incised for transfer
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12 x 9 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 21.483
(June 5 –October 26, 2008)
This watercolor is an intermediary work in preparation for an etching Manet made after his own painting, Mlle V… in the Costume of an Espada, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Lines incised into the sheet indicate how he transferred the image to the etching plate. In a letter dated 1916 from New York, Mrs. Eliza Radeke’s art agent Martin Birnbaum pressed her to act as quickly as possible to purchase the drawing.
Dear Mrs. Radeke, Will you be in town this week? A remarkable Manet watercolor (Toreador in the Bullring) signed has been offered for sale ($650.00) at very low price for such an interesting rarity. It is really a fine complete example and more attractive than most of his subjects. I think it is probably the original study for the Havemeyer picture. Would you dare buy such a thing on my advice? I must give the owner an answer immediately, and everybody is out of town,— if I had more time I would send it on approval, and if I am given more time I will gladly do so.
Mrs. Radeke rarely purchased artworks without first seeing them, and only under duress would her scrupulous agent dare to press her to a decision for fear of losing a great object.(August 19, 2005 – January 22, 2006)
Manet and Degas purportedly met in the Louvre Museum, Paris, while both were copying the same painting by Diego Velázquez. Although Manet and Degas shared an interest in studying the Old Masters and in the portrayal of contemporary life, Manet was the artist with whom Degas developed the most overtly competitive relationship. In a conversation with the English painter Walter Sickert (one of the figures in Degas’s group portrait Six Friends at Dieppe), Degas lamented, “Everything [Manet] does he always hits off straight away, while I take endless pains and never get it right” (Walter Sickert, “Degas,” Burlington Magazine, vol. 31, no.176 [November 1917], pp. 97-98). Degas owned 8 paintings, 14 drawings, and 69 prints by Manet, while Manet’s inventory at his death did not include a single work by Degas.
This watercolor is an intermediary work in preparation for an etching Manet made after his own painting Mlle. V. in the Costume of an Espada. Lines incised into the sheet indicate how he transferred its image to the etching plate.(June 30 –December 3, 2017)
Although many printmakers worked directly on copper plates, Manet used this drawing to help translate an oil painting he made that same year into an etching. All three works depict the artist’s favorite model in the costume of a Spanish bullfighter. Rendered on transparent paper, the drawing may have been directly traced from a photograph of the painting. On the woman’s face, incised marks from the tool that was used to transfer the image are still faintly visible. Manet’s signature at bottom left indicates that he considered this tracing an independent work of art.
Selection VFrench Watercolors and Drawings, ca. 1800-1910
Contributions byChampa, Kermit S.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections
Joel Isaacson, Manet and Spain: Prints and Drawings. Ann Arbor: Museum of Art, University of Michigan, 1969.
Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939.
Watercolors by the Masters: Dürer to Cézanne. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Insitute of Arts, 1952.
Anne Coffin Hanson, “Deux autres espagnolades peu connues, de Manet,” Bulletin de la Société d’etudes pour la connaissance d’Edouard Manet 2 (1968): 14-15.
L.E. Rowe, “A Study for the Havemeyer Picture,” Bulletin of the Rhode Island School of Design 18, no. 3 (July 1930): 26-27.
M.A. Banks, “The Radeke Collection of Drawings,” Bulletin of the Rhode Island School of Design 19, no. 4 (October 1931): 62-72.
Alain de Leiris, The Drawings of Edouard Manet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.
Beatrice Farwell, “Manet’s ‘Espada’ and Marcantonio,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 2 (1969): 197-207
Ingres & Delacroix through Degas & Puvis de Chavannes: The Figure in French Art, 1800-1870. New York: Shepherd Gallery, 1975.
Françoise Cachin, Charles S. Moffett, and Michel Melot, Manet, 1832-1883. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983.
Jean C. Harris, Edouard Manet: The Graphic Work, A Catalogue Raisonné. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1990.