Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)
Oil on canvas
24 x 39 1/4 in. (61 x 99.7 cm)
Signed (lower right): Manet
Bequest of Joan Whitney Payson, 1975 (1976.201.14)
In the late 1860s, Édouard Manet was Claude Monet's hero. By 1874, they had become friends and Manet came under the sway of Monet's approach to painting quickly, out of doors. This portrait of the Monet family—Camille Monet and Jean, with Claude Monet gardening at the left—is one of Manet's most significant essays in this new style.
In 1924, Monet recounted the circumstances of the day in his garden at Argenteuil: "Manet, enthralled by the color and the light, undertook an outdoor painting of figures under trees. During the sitting, Renoir arrived. . . . He asked me for palette, brush and canvas, and there he was, painting away alongside Manet. The latter was watching him out of the corner of his eye. . . . Then he made a face, passed discreetly near me, and whispered in my ear about Renoir: 'He has no talent, that boy! Since you are his friend, tell him to give up painting!'"
Renoir and Manet both gave their pictures to Monet. Renoir's painting is now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.