All in the (Manet) family.Posted: February 8, 2013
Contrary to my usual writing style, this post is going to be short. Short, sweet, and French, like this guy. I’m not THAT interested in challenging myself, though. I got the idea for this one from some label information at a greatass museum. So much like a typical MRG post, it’s about an artist.
An artist who might have caught a social disease from his dad, HEYOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!1
Edouard Manet was a very well-known painter during the Belle Epoque, which is how you say “late-nineteenth century France” in Douchebagese (Pedantic dialect). He’s not Claude Monet, who worked in the same profession and lived in roughly the same place at roughly the same time using roughly the same letters. I know it’s confusing. Just think of it this way: Monet painted a lot of water and landscapes. Manet painted a lot of hookers and naked hookers.
But like, A LOT of naked hookers. His most famous painting is this one, Le dejeneur sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass):
If you ever spent time in an art history survey class, you’ve seen this before. If you haven’t, congratulations, you’ve already made better life choices than I have. Also I think I mentioned it in a prior post before, too. In any case, this little guy CHANGED THE MOTHERFUCKING GAME when it came to 2D representational art. Why? Because NAKED LADIES, CLOTHED DUDES. The entire subtext of this painting is “firecracker orgytime jamboree.” And Manet presented it in the salon, which was otherwise full of traditional portraits and landscapes, as though to say, “You’re welcome for the innovation, peasants,” thereby causing much pearl-clutching.
Now I’m sure you’ve ignored the little history lesson above (it was little, wasn’t it? I’m doing a really good job with this whole concision bag) (maybe the parenthetical bragging isn’t helping though) (WHATEVER, IMMA DO ME) and instead are thinking, “NAKED LADY. BOOBS. WHO IS THE NAKED LADY?”
Well I’m so glad you asked.
As per Manet’s general business plan, a cheap, naked hooker sat for this painting. But you know who else did? MRS. SUZANNE MANET.
Specifically, she sat for the face part. So Manet purposely put the head of his seemingly well-respected and virtuous wife on the body of a sexworker. And I think it’s safe to presume that Suzie was way into it, because it wouldn’t have been unusual for Ed to just use a whole hooker rather than a Franken-hooker. And also Suzie Manet was actually a slorebag.
It all started in 1851, when Suzanne Leenhoff, a musical prodigy, left her hometown of Delft with dreams of making it in the big city (and also hopefully with a knapsack full of urns from home, because that shit is PRECIOU$$$). Before she got very far with that whole “independent hopes and dreams” thing, though, the affluent Manet family hired her to teach their teenage sons (Ed and some other kid who is inconsequential for us right now) how to play piano.
Mommy Manet let this happen despite these sundry facts:
– Suzie was 22 and in the bloom of womanhood
– Suzie was Eastern European
– Suzie was hired help (and we all know how that goes)
– Ed was 19
– 19 year-old boys are horny
– 19 year-old FRENCH boys are the horniest
– Daddy (Auguste) Manet was a gross older French dude
– Gross older French dudes are assuredly, decidedly, definitely down to fuck
Remember how Suzie was hired in 1851? She gave birth to an illegitimate son in 1852. Attagirl.
Leon Leenhoff was definitely 1/2 Manet, but as Suzie routinely fucked both Auguste and Edward from the get go, she had no idea who little LL’s daddy was. Ed painted his maybe-son holding a giant weapon of war in this painting here, as one does.
And here’s the best part: Auguste Manet was hella syphlitic around this time. Ed Manet became moderately syphlitic soon after. Don’t have to be a mathematician to see that x + y = EW EW EW MANET GOT SYPHILIS FROM HIS DAD VIA THEIR MUTUAL SLAMPIECE EW.
Wait, here’s another good part: Suzie moved in with Ed and they lived in sin together not long after Lil LL Cool Manet™ was born, but she maybe probably continued to go to Funkytown with Auguste for like 10 more years.
Also, this is great: Ed finally married Suzie (which was kind of nice of him considering the typical fate of unwed mothers in this time) in 1863, only a year after Auguste’s death.
Suzie really ingratiated herself into the Belle Epoque art world, modeling for her husband and some of his painter friends (including Monet, which is CONFUSING. And did I mention Monet also painted a piece he called Le dejeneur sur l’herbe? Sort of makes you feel like they met at a cafe one afternoon, shared a mille-feuille, and drew up a plan to fuck with us, right?)
Anyways, Manet ended up being the most important figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, probably because he was extremely sexually satisfied and therefore artistically motivated at all times. Here’s my favorite painting of his, because you asked:
So I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes a father and son have mutual interests like football, or the American Civil War, or building soapbox racers, or fucking 22 year-old ladies, and sometimes sharing those interests is okay? Sometimes its okay for a father and son to share things like a vagina or a kid’s DNA or a dick disease? Sometimes it’s okay to be your own grandpa? Sure, any one of those.
Artists: they’re just like us.
You know what, you guys were really good today. I know you’re tired of French painters and you barely complained about this one. I’ll treat you to another Franken-hooker. You deserve it: