Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1889 French gentilhomme
>>>>primary sources
Subjectgentilhomme gentleman duellist
Culture: French bourgeoisie
Setting: Troisième République / Belle Époque / Fin-de-Siècle, France late 19th-early 20thc

​Kimbell Art Museum *
DOUARD MANET  French, 1832-1883  Portrait of Georges Clemenceau  1879-80  Oil on canvas ...
Two radicals -- one of art and the other of politics -- are linked in this forceful portrait.  It is not known when Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) met Manet; the future politician left for America as a newspaper correspondent in 1865, the year in which Manet first exhibited his shocking nude Olympia in Paris.  Following his return in 1869, Clemenceau entered the tumultuous French political world as a radical leftist.  Manet, who often painted his friends as themselves, seems to have sought out political figures around 1879, when he initiated this portrait of Clemenceau, who had visited his studio.  The rostrum at the bottom of the Kimbell painting was probably intended to indicate Clemenceau's incumbency at the time in the Chamber of Deputies.
    "Manet typically exasperated models with his insatiable need to revise, and he never finished the portrait of Clemenceau, begun on two different canvases of identical size.  Closely related photographs of Clemenceau, found among the papers of both artist and sitter, suggest that the deputy was seldom available to pose in person.
    "Manet's widow gave both incompletely realized portraits to the politician as keepsakes.  Later, in 1905, Clemenceau sold one of the versions to an American collector, Louisine Havemeyer of New York, who later gave the painting to France; shortly afterwards he sold the other (now the Kimbell version) to the Parisian dealer Ambroise Vollard.  When he became prime minister of France in 1906, Clemenceau ordered Manet's Olympia to be transferred to the Louvre, thus granting old master status to the controversial painter of modern life."

* Dallas Museum of Art > Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity