Toward the end of his career, Manet, a pioneering realist, undertook several paintings
depicting scenes in the interior of the Brasserie de Reichshoffen in Paris. The
most developed of these, At the Café Concert, shows an older gentleman
and a young woman seated at the counter in a crowed café. An image of the singer
is reflected in the mirror on the back wall. Because of these figures' dispassionate
expressions and their self-absorption, At the Café Concert has been interpreted
as an indictment of the isolation of the individual in modern society.
Other café paintings by Manet:
of a Café-Concert (1880) _. This work was originally the right half of a painting
of the Brasserie de Reichshoffen, begun in about 1878 and cut in two by Manet
before he completed it. This half was then enlarged on the right and a new background
was added. The Brasserie de Reichshoffen was in the Boulevard Rochechouart, Paris.
At the time, brasseries with waitresses were fairly new in the city.
the Café (1880) _ This is the left half of the painting of which the
right half is Corner of a Café-Concert.
Singer at a Café-Concert. (1879)