The Exposition Universelle Edouard Manet Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Edouard Manet paints the classic piece, Exposition Universelle, in 1867 showcasing his immense capability and talent.

The painting is an important world event that illustrates Le Champ De Mars in Paris that took place from the 1st of April to the 1st of October in 1867. Manet began painting the piece in 1867, however the work was quickly abandoned, only to be completed with a rough estimate of around 1883. Manet’s son Leon offered a brief description regarding the painting, and had put it up for sale showcasing his father’s work.

The painting is a classic piece that allowed Manet to showcase the luxurious wealth and events that occurred during the 19th century through the Exposition Universelle. The even showcases the Parisian life, an exciting event Manet showcased through his work. Many art critics through contemporaries and modern scholars have analyzed the work questioning the intention of the piece and the picture it paints. A common criticism towards the painting, is that the white background merges the buildings causing it to disappear, taking away from the classic skyline of Paris. Another complaint is that Manet had flattened the background out to draw attention to the characters within the painting, taking away the essentially characteristics of the town.

The painting carries the same allure and style as Manet’s previous work from two years ago, The Horsewoman. The painting as well flattens out the background and blurriness it in order to bring more attention to the critical focal point of the painting. Both paintings have experienced the similar criticism of the looks of an unfinished masterpiece. Exposition Universelle, illustrates the life of Parisians during the summer of 1867, manifesting wealth among the people. Within the painting, the viewer is able to witness the different activities the people had part taken in. A man in the middle of the painting rides a large brown horse, a boy on the bottom right walks a large dog, woman on the left of the painting gossip to one another regarding their day, and men lay on the grass, enjoying the day while relaxing.

The painting successfully showcases them different events and experiences, giving the viewer a glimpse into the lifestyle at the time. The gardener is an interesting individual to place within the painting, as the character seems to add more personality within the piece, creating a distinction between those enjoying themselves, and those not. Alongside, those who carry wealth alongside those who work. The emotion felt through the painting is a classic lifestyle that has continued with the French through centuries.