With Manet – Painting the Gaze, starting at the end of May 2016 on the occasion of its reopening, the Hamburger Kunsthalle presents an exhibition of superlatives: Including numerous masterworks by Édouard Manet (1832-1883) it features one of the most important pioneers of modern painting who revolutionized art like no other in the 19th century.
The theme of the show, Manet’s gazes, presents the artist’s work from a new perspective. His paintings, which attracted the crowds to the Paris Salons even then, caused great controversy. This was mainly due to his painterly strategy of creating an intriguing relation between the figures in the picture and the observer with a previously unknown immediacy. This manner of directly addressing the observer has continued to fascinate viewers until today. Manet’s paintings reveal how the gaze within the public sphere of Paris has undergone perpetual changes ever since the 1860s – a transformation that Manet and his contemporaries pointedly dealt with in their art. By referring to traditional masters like the great Spaniards Velázquez and Goya, while at the same time dealing with the topics of modern life, Manet developed the new pictorial language of his time.
Seeing and being seen was a central theme attracting Parisians to the Salon exhibitions. For the first time, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is showcasing pairs of paintings which Manet had sel ected for presentation at the Salon: The painting Nana (1877), from the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, is hung side by side with Jean-Baptiste Faure as Hamlet (1877), a loan from the Museum Folkwang in Essen; also brought together are the masterpieces Le balcon (1868/69) from the Musée d’ Orsay in Paris and Le déjeuner (1868) from the Neue Pinakothek in Munich; and even the superb works Lola de Valence (1862) from the Musée d’ Orsay and Le philosophe (1865/67) from the Art Institute of Chicago, which Manet presented on the occasion of the World Exhibition in 1867, are on display in Hamburg.
With major works from internationally renowned museums, the exhibition offers the unique chance to see the full scope of Manet’s œuvre, fr om his early to his late work.
Manet – Painting the Gaze is under the patronage of Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre, and Olaf Scholz, First Lord Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and, since January 2015, commissioner for German-French cultural cooperation.