Anne Coffin Hanson
Anne Coffin Hanson (1921–2004) was the John Hay Whitney Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University.
Hanson, Anne Coffin
Hanson, Anne Coffin
United States of America
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Description: Manet and the Modern Tradition
Although Edouard Manet has long been regarded as one of the greatest nineteenth-century French artists, there has been little agreement about the real character of his contribution. His beautifully executed paintings often reveal curious tensions in the handling of space and color and leave his intentions unclear. Contemporary writers such as Zola and Mallarmé view his work very differently, and art historians and critics interpret his work in many ways, from strict formalism, devoid of meaning, to internalized musings full of hidden symbolism.

In this investigation of the artist and the society in which he lived, Anne Coffin Hanson examines the ambiguities that surround Manet. Manet is seen not just as an artistic genius, but as a man of his times, subject to the same influences and interests as his contemporaries, and painting, at least initially, with the same knowledge of his craft as his fellow artists. What emerges is a totally new concept of the man and what he was trying to do: a modern artist, complex, witty, ironical, and deeply involved in the world of his day.

Hanson first studies the ideas about art and life to which Manet was exposed through literature and his associations with literary friends. She then analyzes Manet's subject matter considering the influence of traditional masterpieces, as well as current, less-elevated popular imagery. Finally, she considers how he painted, what he learned from his teacher and from the models he admired, and how he developed his own extraordinarily expressive technique. The controlling theme through the book is la vie moderne—that sense of anticipation and enthusiasm about a modern life which would be essentially different from the past, yet rooted in the French tradition. Manet's art expressed the transitory feelings of this crucial moment in French history and yet remains profoundly beautiful and lasting.

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Print publication date January 1977 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300019544
EISBN 9780300235869
Illustrations 135 illus.
Print Status out of print