|PORTRAIT OF EDOUARD MANET by Zacharie Astruc|
In 1874 a relatively insignificant exhibition of 30 Artists took place in Paris. At the time Impressionism was a radical new style being explored by a small group of artists in the city of light. Because the style went against tradition, many at the forefront were turned away by the most important exhibition of the Parisian calendar, the Salon. The loosely formed group, elected to put together an open exhibition, with the only criteria being that the Salon refused your submission. As such, the exhibition included many fringe artists that are relatively unknown today.
I like to think I would have been a part of this radical group, meeting in the parks, coffee shops and night clubs of Belle Epoch Paris. I would be mixing with Manet, Monet, Degas and Lautrec, living outside convention and involved in the process of change. Because I feel such a connection to the period and the Impressionist movement, over time I will be introducing some of these relatively unknown artists in my blog.
Zacharie was born in Angers, France in 1833. He was an important figure in the second half of the 19th century, in the cultural life of France. He was a sculptor, painter, poet, and art critic. As an art critic, writing primarily between 1859–1872, he was one of the first to recognize the talent of Edouard Manet. He also defended Monet, Whistler, Carolus-Duran, Fantin-Latour, and Alphonse Legros. As an artist he participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874 and the 1900 Exposition Universelle.
Zacharie was immortalized in Henri Fantin-Latour's masterpiece, Un atelier aux Batignolles, as the sitter being painted by Manet. He is generally credited with bestowing a title on Manet's painting "Olympia," and when it was exhibited at the Salon of 1865, the catalog entry included an excerpt from one of his poems. - Wikepedia
In the above portrait of Manet, it is obvious that Zacharie felt a great affinity for the master and his work. I too love Manet and hope one day to develop his value technique. Manet seems to have been quite a poser, today he would be right up there with the Kardashians in popularity. He was handsome, with an knack for attracting interesting people. He was also well educated and dynamic. I think it was pretty difficult to refuse him and Zacharie was obviously drawn to him like a moth to the flame.
Perhaps because Zacharie realized that he didn't have the talent to become a great artist, or possibly because he preferred writing and poetry, he left us only a small body of art work. I think it would be very interesting to read his articles to add depth to my knowledge of the era.
He died in Paris in 1907