#FridayPainting: Édouard Manet “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère was to be Édouard Manet last major work. This has always been a difficult painting for me to view as it depicts a scene in the Folies Bergère nightclub in Paris.

The Folies-Bergère was also notorious as a place to pick up prostitutes. The writer Guy de Maupassant described the barmaids as “vendors of drink and of love.” The Courtauld Institute of Art

There is a great deal of discussion about the symbolism, the setting, the faraway look in the barmaid’s eyes. I enjoyed reading the BBC article by Kelly Grovier published on 11th March 2019

Of course, Édouard Manet knew the place well and asked, Suzan, one of the barmaids to be his model.

In all of my research wanderings, I never found the answer to the question I was seeking – why?

Édouard Manet would have known that he was at the end of his career. Why did he choose this scene to be one of his last paintings?