The Waitress Bocks 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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The Waitress Bocks is a classic piece painted by artist Edouard Manet, showcasing a glimpse into the everyday Parisian life.

The piece was painted in 1879, originally titled as La Serveuse de Bocks, the piece is translated into English as The Waitress. Manet had a meticulous attention to detail, and was specific through his use of models and the exact setting he painted in. The Waitress is a piece illustrating Manet’s specific attention to detail, showcasing the relationship between the man and woman within the piece. The painting illustrates a sophisticated woman starring at the viewer in a café. The woman has dark brown hairs and wears it up, accompanied by small gold hoop earrings. The woman is dressed in a black jacket, with a blue collared shirt peaking out from the top of her neck.

The woman’s face is incredibly detailed, highlighting rosy plump cheeks and a contoured face. The muse’s blue eyes look at the viewer directly, with a monotone emotion located on her face. The feeling the viewer feels as they look at the woman is neither happiness nor sadness, but instead a curiosity for the history behind the piece. Beneath the woman is seated a man in a black skullcap with his brown hair flowing out. The man smokes a pipe while looking in a direction opposite to the woman, perhaps conversating with the rest of his friends at the café. The man’s coat does not hold a distinct colour, but instead is made up from an array of Manet’s brush strokes and textures. The coat is coloured in shades of blue, grey and green, adding an abstract feel to the work.

The folds within the man’s coat are contoured with shades of black, in the fold at the arm and around the collar. To the left of the man is another man seated with only his top hat shown. It seems that around that other people are located around the man and woman, creating a social setting for the piece. At the left of the painting, the outline of a woman’s body is partly illuminated, suggesting perhaps the man is watching her dance, while the focal point woman acts as a waitress at the café.

The background wall within the painting showcases a burn orange colour, contoured and highlighted with different shades of orange. The wall extends to a velvet green colour strip, transitioning to a white wall with pink floral patterns painted. The background of the painting illustrates a wealthy environment, accentuating the wealth of the Parisian lifestyle and culture at the time. The colour scheme of the painting continues in these rich orange shades, incorporating different tones of black, grey, nude and gold.