Love and Death
48" x 60"
Collection of Allan and Robin Wimer
The famous scandal provoked by Manet's Olympia at the Salon of 1865 was due to several breaches of Salon etiquette. The artist had recast the traditional reclining female nude, often posed in a mythological role like Venus or Danae, with a clearly contemporary Parisian woman staring boldly at us as if welcoming a client or posing for a camera. She is attractive but unidealized, and the relatively flat modeling contributes to the immediate, graphic look of an image caught in a flash of light. If it had been a motion picture camera, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, he might have tilted down to discover a Dead Toreador, also by Manet. The circumstances of his demise are far from clear, but we sense she is implicated, and the aroused black cat takes on new significance. It's not without irony that I was luckier with the critics than the great Manet. In an exhibition at the Alternative Museum of The Art of Appropriation, this painting was singled out by Joan Marter as "Postmodernism brilliantly exemplified."