The Academy particularly deplored the way in which one of the men appeared to be staring at the naked woman, who in turn gazed directly at the viewer with a little too much knowingness.
And then there was Manet’s painting technique. They considered that inappropriate too. Again, the artist had made no attempt to use gradations between his blocks of bold color and thus utterly failed to create a satisfactory three-dimensional illusion.
Nor did it appear to the Academy that he’d spent very long producing the picture, which they felt was more like a saucy cartoon than a honed piece of fine art.
They rejected it out of hand.
There was though some consolation for the disappointed artist. He wasn’t alone in being refused entry. The 1863 Salon had vintage committee of naysayers.
Out went Manet’s efforts but so did an incredible 3000+ other works of art, including paintings by future stars like Paul Cezanne, James McNeil Whistler and Camille Pissarro.
The temperature between the Progressives of the Academy was beginning to rise. And even Napoleon III had started to feel the heat.
His own autocratic approach wasn’t terribly popular either, so it attempt to quell a possible rebellion, he decided to show his more liberal side.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.