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Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
Property from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Coles
Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

L'Italienne

Details
Edouard Manet (1832-1883)
L'Italienne
stamped with initials ‘E.M.’ (Lugt 880; lower left)
oil on canvas
28 7/8 x 23 ¾ in. (73.3 x 60.5 cm.)
Painted in 1860
Provenance
Estate of the artist; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 4-5 February 1884, lot 38.
Alexander J. Cassatt, Philadelphia (acquired through Alphonse Portier at the above sale).
Anthony D. Cassatt, Philadelphia (by descent from the above, by 1906 and until at least 1948).
Minnie Cassatt Hickman, Southampton (by descent from the above, 1972); sale, Christie's, New York, 31 October 1978, lot 15.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
Literature
T. Duret, Histoire de Édouard Manet et de son oeuvre, Paris, 1902, p. 209, no. 67 (titled Une italienne (Etude) and dated 1863-1865).
T. Duret, Histoire de Edouard Manet et de son oeuvre, avec un catalogue des peintures et des pastels, Paris, 1926, p. 244, no. 67 (titled Une Italienne (Etude)).
E. Moreau-Nélaton, Manet: raconté par lui-même, Paris, 1926, vol. I, pp. 30 and 150 (illustrated, p. 31, fig. 22; dated circa 1860).
A. Tabarant, Manet: Histoire catalographique, Paris, 1931, pp. 55 and 576, no. 31.
P. Jamot, G. Wildenstein and M.L. Bataille, Manet: L'oeuvre de l'artiste en quatre cent quatre-vingts phototypies, Paris, 1932, vol. II, p. 30, no. 38 (illustrated, fig. 67).
A. Tabarant, Manet et ses oeuvres, Paris, 1947, pp. 40 and 534, no. 36 (illustrated, p. 603).
H. Perruchot, La vie de Manet, Paris, 1959, pp. 96-97.
P. Pool and S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Manet, New York, 1967, p. 89, no. 27 (illustrated).
M. Venturi and S. Orienti, L’opera pittorica di Édouard Manet, Milan, 1967, p. 89, no. 27 (illustrated; titled Modella italiana).
M. Bodelson, "Early Impressionist Sales 1874-1894 in Light of Some Unpublished 'Procès-Verbaux" in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 110, no. 783, June 1968, p. 343, no. 38.
D. Rouart and D. Wildenstein, Edouard Manet: Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1975, vol. I, p. 46, no. 29 (illustrated, p. 47).
B. Dorival, "Quelques sources méconnues de divers ouvrages de Manet de la sculpture gothique à la photographie" in Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire de l’art français, année 1975, 1976, pp. 329-330 (illustrated).
G. Bernier, Paris Cafés: Their Role in the Birth of Modern Art, exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc, New York, 1985, pp. 22 and 119 (illustrated, p. 22; with incorrect provenance).
S.G. Lindsay, Mary Cassatt and Philadelphia, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1985, pp. 14 and 30, note 75.
F. Weitzenhoffer, The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America, New York, 1986, p. 36.
E. Darragon, Manet, Paris, 1989, p. 48.
J. Wilson-Bareau, "L’année impressionniste de Manet: Argenteuil et Venise en 1874" in La Revue de l’art, no. 86, 1989, p. 28.
R. Katz and C. Dars, The Impressionists in Context, New York, 1991, p. 40 (detail illustrated in color).
B.R. Collins, Twelve Views of Manet’s Bar, Princeton, 1996, p. 253.
J.A. Barter et al., Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998, p. 188 and p. 208, note 30.
Exhibited
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc, A Loan Exhibition of Manet for the Benefit of the New York Infirmary, February-April 1948, p. 51, no. 7 (illustrated, p. 18).
Southampton, The Parrish Art Museum, From Southampton Collections, August-September 1973, no. 74.
Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art; Fukuoka Art Museum and Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Edouard Manet, June-October 1986, p. 6, no. 25 (illustrated in color; dated circa 1878).

Lot Essay

In 1859, at age twenty-seven, Edouard Manet—the future enfant terrible of the official Salon—ventured his first submission to that distinguished venue: a life-size, full-length portrait of a local Parisian character drunk on absinthe, painted with the soft focus and brown tonalities of his early mentor Thomas Couture (Rouart and Wildenstein, no. 19). Couture mocked the painting and the Salon jury rejected it, appalled by the use of such a grand format for a decidedly ignoble, modern subject. Emboldened rather than dispirited by this adverse response, Manet rented a new studio on the rue de Douai in the summer of 1860 and began painting at full throttle. “He turned out in that one year,” Beth Archer Brombert has written, “as many paintings as he had produced during the preceding five, most of them masterworks” (Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat, Boston, 1996, p. 77).
Manet painted the present canvas at this defining moment, enlisting as his sitter a young Italian woman named Agostina Segatori—best known today for her love affair with Vincent Van Gogh more than a quarter-century later. In 1860, Agostina was still a rosy-cheeked girl of nineteen, recently arrived in Paris from her native city of Ancona and eking out a living as an artist’s model. Manet may have met her in Couture’s studio or perhaps encountered her on the street, as he would Victorine Meurent (“Olympia”) in 1862. Agostina posed for Manet in traditional Italian garb—a red skirt and bodice over a billowy chemise, an embroidered apron, and a white kerchief—possibly her own or more likely from the artist’s costume basket, which he used to create an illusion of realist authenticity. Turning his back on Couture’s teachings, Manet now drew his inspiration directly from Velázquez, rendering his subject with well-defined contours and clear, bright colors against a brown-black ground.
Roughly contemporaneous with L’Italienne is another Mediterranean-themed costume piece, Le chanteur espagnol, which garnered Manet his first official recognition when it was accepted for the 1861 Salon (Rouart and Wildenstein, no. 32). Here, the artist called attention to the studio fiction of the painting, depicting a left-handed guitarist holding an instrument strung for a right-handed player. Like Agostina Segatori, he is a hired model—a contemporary Parisian type—viewed through the lens of the Spanish Golden Age. Shortly after the Salon opened, several young artists and writers, including Fantin-Latour and Baudelaire, visited Manet to express their admiration for Le chanteur espagnol, which was “painted in a certain new, strange way”—so they recounted—“lying between that called realist and that called romantic” (quoted in Manet, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983, p. 67). Thus marked the beginning of Manet’s de facto leadership of the Parisian avant-garde, providing the loose collective with a sense of identity that it had hitherto lacked.
For her part, Agostina Segatori continued to find success as an artist’s model long after she sat for Manet. Corot depicted her as L’Italienne Agostina in 1866 (Robaut, no. 1562; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and possibly as Sibylle in the early 1870s (no. 2130; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); she is said to have posed for Delacroix and Gérôme during this period as well. From 1872 until 1884, she had a romantic relationship with the academic painter Edouard Joseph Dantan, with whom she had one son. Following their split, she opened the restaurant Le Tambourin at 62, boulevard de Clichy, which quickly became a favorite haunt among avant-garde artists—most notably Van Gogh, who had a brief but intense liaison with “La Segatori” in the first months of 1887.
Van Gogh painted Agostina seated at one of the café’s distinctive tambourine-shaped tables, smoking a cigarette and sipping a beer—an independent, modern woman in bohemian Paris (Faille, no. 370; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). She was very likely the model as well for a trio of reclining nudes by Van Gogh and for the painter’s icon-like Italienne in bright folk costume (no. 381; Musée d’Orsay, Paris). Agostina gave Vincent free rein to adorn the walls of Le Tambourin, allowing him to hang his collection of Japanese prints and to exhibit his own work along with that of Gauguin, Anquetin, and Bernard. A fracas ensued, however, when creditors seized the café in July 1887, and Agostina proved unable—or unwilling—to return Vincent’s paintings. “I told Miss Segatori,” Vincent wrote to his brother, “that I wouldn’t pass judgment on her over this affair, but that it was up to her to judge herself” (Letter, no. 571).
Manet’s portrait of this lively personality was one of the first few canvases by the artist to find a home across the Atlantic. The earliest owner was the Pennsylvania Railroad tycoon Alexander Cassatt, the brother of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt and a pioneering American collector of the New Painting. On 5 January 1884, Mary wrote to Alexander that she hoped to obtain some works for him from Manet’s upcoming estate sale. She enlisted Alphonse Portier, a former employee of Durand-Ruel who had become a modest independent dealer, to act as her agent. Portier secured L’Italienne and a second painting, Portrait de Marguerite de Conflans, for Alexander; Mary was delighted. Alexander Cassatt retained L’Italienne until his death, and the canvas subsequently passed to his grandson Anthony Cassatt.

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