Date of Birth: 23/1/1832
Manet was born in Paris, the son of a lawyer who wanted him to study law. His uncle, Charles Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and often took young Manet to the Louvre. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter, Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters. Manet began to paint everyday subjects, such as old beggars, street urchins, cafe characters, and Spanish bullfight scenes. He adopted a direct, bold brush technique in his treatment of realistic subject matter. A major early work is The Luncheon on the Grass (Le djeuner sur l'herbe). The Paris Salon rejected it for exhibition in 1863 but he exhibited it at the Salon des Refuss (Salon of the Rejected), a new exhibition place opened by Napoleon III. He became friends with the Impressionists Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro but although his own work influenced and anticipated the Impressionist style, he resisted involvement in Impressionist exhibitions. Manet's paintings of cafe scenes are observations of social life in 19th-century Paris. He joined Monet, Renoir and Degas in painting scenes of leisure and dubious delight. People are depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Many of these paintings were based on sketches executed on the spot. Working alongside the other great artists Manet developed his own style that would be heralded as innovative and serve as a major influence for future painters.