Boating by Édouard Manet was exhibited in the Salon of 1879, and the art critic J. K. Huysmans wrote… The bright blue water continues to exasperate a number of people… Manet has never, thank heavens, known those prejudices stupidly maintained in the academies. He paints, by abbreviations, nature as it is and as he sees it. The woman, dressed in blue, seated in a boat cut off by the frame as in certain Japanese prints, is well-placed, in broad daylight, and her figure energetically stands out against the oarsman dressed in white, against the vivid blue of the water. These are, indeed, pictures the likes of which, alas, we shall rarely find in this tedious Salon. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Masterpieces_of_European_Painting_1800_1920_in_the_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art pages 104-105
Édouard Manet, the scion of a wealthy French family, was a Parisian good-looking, charming, and cosmopolitan artist of great talent… He believed, according to the National Gallery of Art experts, that art should be about modern life and embraced the role of social commentator. He admired the old masters… but his artistic inspiration came from the ‘modern’ city of Paris, dramatically transformed at the time of Napoleon III, by the vision of Baron Georges Haussmann. His goal was to document the world around him: the grand boulevards, fashionable cafés, busy racetracks, and people and activities in his own neighborhood, and wherever else fashionable Parisians were expected to be. https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-EdouardManet.pdf
In the summer of 1894, Édouard Manet was at Gennevilliers, opposite Argenteuil, on the river Seine where the Manet family had a country estate. He was in good company! His friend Claude Monet lived nearby, at Argenteuil. The two artists accompanied, at times, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted together and continued their conversations which were for Manet precious… Nothing could have been more interesting than our discussions… he once said. The summer of 1874 was also pivotal as the time when Manet’s friendship with the younger Impressionist Claude Monet took deep roots. http://www.worldsbestpaintings.net/artistsandpaintings/painting/172/
At Argenteuil Manet painted Boating along with more paintings on similar subject matter like Monet in his Studio Boat, The Monet Family in their Garden, Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil, and more. Boating depicts one of the most popular leisure activities of the French bourgeoisie… sailing on the Seine! There has been a lot of speculation as to who the people in the painting are. It has been suggested that the depicted “sailor” is Rodolphe Leeenhoff, Manet’s brother-in-law. No consensus has been reached, however, as to who the female in the painting is. According to the Metropolitan Museum experts, she might be Alice Lecouvé, the model for the 1875 painting The Laundry in the Barnes Foundation. https://www.edouard-manet.net/boating/ and https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Masterpieces_of_European_Painting_1800_1920_in_the_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art pages 104-105
Shown in the Salon of 1879, Boating was deemed “the last word in painting” by Mary Cassatt, who recommended the acquisition to the New York collectors Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer. Louisine bequeathed it to The Met upon her death in 1929. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436947
For a PowerPoint on Boating by Édouard Manet and the Summer of 1874, please… Check HERE!