Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1863
Oil on canvas
35 x 46 in. (89.5 x 116.5 cm)
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Courtauld Gift, 1932


This is a preliminary version of one of French 19th-century artist Édouard Manet’s most important and controversial works, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), which was rejected by the jury of the 1863 Paris Salon. It depicts an ambiguous scene of picnickers on the banks of the Seine; a semi-clad woman dips in the water, while two contemporarily-dressed men recline and converse, and a naked woman seated next to them looks out at the viewer. Cursorily painted, rendered in an almost stage-set-like way, and appearing as if under a harsh-raking light, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe offended Parisian viewers with its provocative subject matter and radical style. It also became an instant rallying point for a group of young avant-garde artists who would later call themselves Impressionists.


Related Projects