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Description: Manet Manette
PublisherYale University Press
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I have many to thank for their advice, input, and support or simply for the stimulus that their work provided me while I produced this book. The origin of Manet Manette lies in an article by that name that I published in the Stanford Humanities Review in 1992. But the seeds of it were sown earlier than that, during my years of teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. There the survey course that I taught each year with Svetlana Alpers first led me to pursue an interest in the pictures of Victorine Meurent painted by Edouard Manet in the 1860s: in an effort to understand Manet’s complicated relationship to the museum of past art, and to comprehend how he did and did not fit into the standard narrative of modernism that led into Impressionism and out of it into abstraction, I began to think about the ways in which Manet picked up the threads of court painting in his representations of the female model, rather than rejecting them outright. That thinking was spurred both by the narrative challenges of the introductory art-history survey, which once upon a time was so crucial to the discipline, and by the friendship and provocation of teaching with an art historian possessed of vivid, succinct intelligence about the art of Europe’s Renaissance courts. Of particular significance to me were our discussions of Velasquez, who was vital to Manet: the relationship of Manet to Velasquez and the historically distinct eras that they represent have continued to be a site of productive argument between us and, indeed, were crucial to the completion of the manuscript, many of whose pieces Svetlana read and to which she responded usefully and critically throughout.
I must also thank Jacqueline Lichtenstein, with whom I taught a graduate seminar on nineteenth-century art-writing at Berkeley. It was in the context of that early seminar that I first began to think in depth about the Goncourt brothers’ novel Manette Salomon, which provides one of the meanings of the second half of my title, and more generally about the relationship between painting and literature. Jacqueline’s ideas about color and the de-Pilsian rhetorial tradition, developed in La Couleur Eloquente (1989), continue to be an inspiration to me. The contributions of students in that seminar and in later courses at Berkeley, C.U.N.Y., and Princeton have been invaluable as well; here I think in particular of Margaret Doyle, Melissa Hyde, Pamela Ivinski, Blake Koh, Neil Printz, Jeannene Pryzlbyski, Lora Rempel, Jennifer Shaw, and Marcus Verhagen. The combined efforts of the students in my seminars on formalism at C.U.N.Y. were fundamental — as was, in general, the liberating effect of teaching at the Graduate Center. And then there were the particular efforts of those students who helped me gather photographs and compile the index for the book: I am especially grateful for the work of Michelle Foa, Gordon Hughes, Lori Johnson, William McManus, and Lisa Schiff.
This book would not have been written without the goading of two very different books about Manet that I have used extensively in my teaching, which I admire immensely but with whose suppositions I ultimately disagree, and which are present in Manet Manette as both a necessary underpinning and a contrary undertow: Tim Clark’s The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers of 1985 and more recently Michael Fried’s Manet’s Modernism, or, The Face of Painting in the 1860s of 1996. I am immediately indebted to Jim Rubin, for our discussions when he was at work on the final stages of Manet’s Silence and the Poetics of Bouquets (1994) and I on beginning drafts of Manet Manette, and for his reading of the final manuscript and excellent suggestions for streamlining it. I have also been impelled throughout by the work of feminist historians of the nineteenth century — Hollis Clayson, Tamar Garb, Anne Higonnet, Linda Nochlin, Griselda Pollock, and Abigail Solomon-Godeau in particular — even, or especially, when I have ended up parting company with some of the main assumptions of that work too.
My thanks go as well to the editors of October magazine, and to Brad Collins and Paul Tucker, for their editorial advice, their support, and their help in the publication of essays that led to various chapters in this book. And I am indebted to the following individuals and institutions for inviting me to give papers that helped me work through many aspects of my thinking on Manet: the University of California at Berkeley; the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Mark Gottlieb at Emory University; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Paul Tucker; the Department of French at Vassar College; the University of Delaware; Case Western Reserve University; the New York Society for Women in Philosophy; Duke University; Marcus Verhagen at Reed College; the N.Y.U. Institute of Fine Arts; David Joselit and Richard Meyer; Tom Crow at Yale University; Eduardo Cadava, Forbes College, and the Alumni Council at Princeton University; Sarah Rich at Pennsylvania State University; Norton Batkin and Martha Ward at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies.
I am grateful, too, to P.S.C.-C.U.N.Y. Research Foundation for the several grants it awarded me to conduct research and collect photographs for the book, to Princeton University for giving me an early research leave to complete the writing of the manuscript, and to the many museums and collections who have permitted me to reproduce their works in Manet Manette. And finally, without the editorial commitment and vision of Gillian Malpass, none of it would have been possible: I owe particular thanks to her, and to her assistant Sandy Chapman.
In the conventional order of acknowledgments, one’s family generally comes last. But not least: for the affection, skepticism, and honesty that they provide, for their helping me to balance a professional with another identity, for being essential to my happiness, my sanity, and my insanity, my husband and two sons are most important of all. I thank them just for being there.
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