A Matador, 1866–67
Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)
Oil on canvas; 67 3/8 x 44 1/2 in. (171.1 x 113 cm)
Signed (lower left): Manet
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.52)
After painting pictures inspired by the Spanish masters of the seventeenth century for six years, Manet finally took a trip to Spain in September 1865. He attended a bullfight on Sunday, September 3, 1865; one of the toreros was the illustrious Cayetano Sanz y Pozas (1821–1890). Only recently has Sanz been recognized in this, the first of the full-length figure paintings Manet completed after he studied the works of Velázquez in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. He painted the picture in Paris. Unlike all of Manet's previous depictions of matadors, this bullfighter carries a red cape.
Manet exhibited this painting, along with some twenty others on Spanish themes, at the solo exhibition he organized in a private pavilion adjacent to the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Théodore Duret, the writer who accompanied Manet to the Prado and probably also to the bullfight, bought this painting from the artist in 1870.