Manet is the blockbuster exhibition of the season in London. Advance bookings are among the highest in the RA’s recent history, so the show will doubtless help replenish the RA’s coffers. The RA, unusually quick to spot an opportunity, is offering ‘exclusive’ Sunday evening openings – for £30 (double the normal price) – although this includes a drink and an audio-guide.
So what is all the fuss about?
Never before have so many works – more than 50 – by Manet (1832-83) been assembled in this country. Some of the works come from private collections, and have therefore rarely if ever been on public display; most are from museums, not just in the UK, France and Europe, but from less accessible museums in the USA, Japan and Brazil. Manet, unlike his contemporaries, painted portraits all his life, yet, curiously, this is the first show devoted entirely to his portraits. Also, Manet, often dubbed ‘the father of modern art’, is one of the great painters of the 19th century and painted some extraordinary works, some of which are in this show.
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