My husband and I were at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, thoroughly enjoying Picasso 1901, based on Pablo Picasso’s first exhibit in Paris, when he was only 19 years old. The show was amazing and the gallery, itself, well worth the visit.
We left the Picasso exhibit to tour the permanent collection, and there it was. . . Édouard Manet’s iconic Bar at the Follies-Bergère I’ve seen this so many times in books and on posters, that it was thrilling to see it in person. Some art doesn’t quite measure up to expectations when you see it–Salvador Dalí’sPersistence of Memory at the Museum of Modern Art and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, at the Louvre, for example, are much smaller than I imagined they would be, although both are still stunning works!
But this lovely painting was larger than life and so wonderfully painted. Getting the opportunity to really study it, I decided to look at the bottle labels to see what the lovely barmaid was serving up. On both sides of the bar, believe it or not, are bottles of Bass Ale–an English ale in a French painting from 1882? Really! There are also some bottles of rosé and several bottles of gold foil-topped Champagne. I tried to read labels–the most legible one is at the far left. The name on the label? Manet, of course!