But on this spring morning the differences and petty politics didn’t matter; they were united in their fury with the Academy for having repeatedly rejected their work, and were determined to make their exhibition a success not just for themselves, but also for the many other artists who had been invited (mainly by Degas) to show their work.
The mood at the café was one of mutual respect and support: even Cézanne wished his colleagues ‘bonne chance’.
When they met again, nearly a fortnight after the exhibition’s opening night, their optimism had all but disappeared.
This time Monet was not drinking coffee; he had swiped his cup and saucer from the table in a fit of anger, discharging the contents and smashing the receptacle.
He was now thrashing the side of the table with a copy of the satirical newspaper Le Charivari, snarling more each time additional elements of its contents were revealed to him.
Cézanne was nowhere to be seen; Renoir was – for once – silent, as were Manet and Morisot. Only Degas and Pissarro spoke.
They too had copies of Le Charivari, from which they were reading extracts, giving small breaks in between for all those around the table to calm down.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.