This catalogue accompanies the exhibition Manet, the Man who Invented Modern Art shown in the Musée d'Orsay (5 April - 3 July 2011).
Painting is a matter of intelligence. You can see that in Manet.
Pablo Picasso, 1956
Obviously unique, erotic and political, highly autobiographical, at times ironic, and always turned toward the public space, Manet's art was playful in its own way. To gamble, to take risks, and to collect the winnings if possible, all three things were vital to this man of great ambition. The former sailor navigated by sight and always in open waters. No retreat, no safe haven, no evasion. Manet feared his doubts less than he feared failure and routine. To become tied down to some formula or particular genre would have been, for him, the worst way of giving up. A revolutionary, certainly, a history painter in his own way, he was also a Salon painter, ready to do battle with the jury and the public so as to impose the Modern into great art.