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The Art Institute of Chicago

Edouard Manet "The Parisienne "

Edouard Manet "The Parisienne "

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From: The Art Institute of Chicago
Limited Edition: 3
Exhibition: Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 98" x 30" (248cm x 76cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


With French Impressionists striving to capture modern life on canvas, how could they NOT be affected by the birth of modern fashion? From the 1860s through the 1880s, department stores and fashion magazines were on the rise. Couture fashion houses, like that of Charles Frederick Worth, were all the rage among the upper middle class. Fashion was changing, becoming an industry, and Impressionists embraced it. They painted life as they saw it. Even black, the color of widowhood, became a symbol of urban sophistication during this time of rapid change.

The Art Institute of Chicago’s Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibition uncovers the relationship between of art and fashion as it unfolded in Paris. Speaking of black, check out the way light plays off the black frock of The Parisienne painted by Édouard Manet in 1875.


Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity uncovered the relationship between art and fashion during the pivotal years between the mid-1860s and the mid-1880s when Paris became the style capital of the world. The novelty of fleeting style trends was a seductive draw for a generation of artists giving life to the richness of modern fashion. Édouard Manet said, “The latest fashion… is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.”

In addition to the 75 paintings by Impressionist favorites such as Manet, Renoir, and Monet, the exhibition included work by fashion portraitists, as well as period costumes and accessories. It also included fashion plates which are illustrations of people wearing fashionable styles intended for use by dressmakers. Incidentally, this explains the origin of the figurative use of the moniker “fashion plate” to refer to someone who dresses stylishly in the latest fashions.

Like other Impressionists, Manet scorned the portrait scene genre in favor of capturing a spontaneous moment in time, an attitude, the illusion of movement. He focused less on the details of the a garment but rather on the reflections of light on its fabric and a the suggestion of an elegantly moving figure. With The Parisienne, the actress Ellen Andrée was the subject, however, Manet sought to paint the modern Parisian woman rather than a portrait of Andrée.

The Parisienne is featured on the Art Institute of Chicago banner used to promote the exhibition. The Art Institute logo appears at the top of the banner and The Parisienne fills the balance. “Impressionism & Fashion” and “June 26-Sept 22” appear on the back side along with sponsors’ logos.


This banner was displayed around the Chicago area between June 26 and September 29, 2013. The exhibition traveled first to the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, before concluding its tour at the Art Institute, Chicago.

About the Artist

Learn more about Édouard Manet

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