About this artwork
During the late nineteenth century, Parisian cafés were the gathering places of artists and writers and were ideal locations for observing the urban scene. Many Impressionist paintings depict the Café Nouvelle-Athènes on the rue Pigalle, where two tables were reserved for Édouard Manet and his circle—a group that included the painters Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the writers Charles Baudelaire and Émile Zola.
At first glance, this fashionably dressed young woman appears to have been captured sitting at a favorite café: the marble tabletop, beer mug, and magazine attached to a wooden bar suggest such a setting, and her heavy clothing and kid gloves indicate that she is at an outdoor table and that the weather is cool. However, the floral background is actually one of Manet’s paintings and the café a re-creation in his studio.
Woman Reading is one of the most Impressionist of Manet’s images; the quick, free brushstrokes and light colors are characteristic of his technique late in his career. Painted only a few years before his death, this work admirably captures a fleeting moment, the sense of modern life that Manet and his contemporaries sought to represent.
- Édouard Manet
- Woman Reading
- Oil on canvas
- Inscribed lower left: Manet
- 61.2 × 50.7 cm (24 1/16 × 19 7/8 in.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection