Paris in July, at the last moment: Manet and Modern Beauty at The Art Institute of Chicago

On this, the last day of July, my mother, niece and I went to Chicago to see the Manet exhibit at the Art Institute. It was a truly spectacular day to be in the city as you can see from these pictures of Millennium Park:

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But, the Manet exhibit was really special. Combined with the gorgeous paintings were artifacts from the fashion of his time, such as these:

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And there were drawings and handwriting on notes and envelopes which charmed me:

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This is a picture of his watercolor set, a tin box with two brushes and dried watercolor pans:

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And here are some of my favorite paintings:

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(The audio said that this picture above depicts “the loneliness of urban modernity”.)

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The plaque by this last painting struck me as being quite lovely. It says this:

Mandarins appear frequently in Manet’s final works. According to Antonin Proust, the collector who bought the picture sent Manet a crate of mandarins from Marseille as a kind of gentlemanly exchange. Manet reportedly told Proust, “When I go out, I take lots of mandarins. I fill my pockets with them and give them to the local children who come begging. They’d probably prefer money, but I prefer to give them a share in something I enjoy. The pleasure of this world! Well they’re made of things that mean little to some people but a lot to others.”

In the nick of time, I have an entry for Tamara’s Paris in July event . There were no books for me, after all, but the art of Edouard Manet, combined with this gorgeous day in Chicago, were more than enough celebration for me.