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The Equestrienne (L'Amazone)

Édouard Manet

European Art

In the mid-nineteenth century, the term amazone mockingly referred to fashionable Parisian women who preferred to ride on horseback instead of inside a carriage, and wore elegant costumes while doing so. Édouard Manet, a committed observer of Parisian life, was particularly attuned to the fashions of the era, often taking as his subject the leisure activities of modern urban women. In this watercolor, he used loose, rapid brushstrokes to form the rider’s light brown jacket, black skirt and bow tie, and jaunty boaterlike hat. The brilliant ultramarine background and stark white of untouched paper suggest a moment of sunlit stillness before she sets off.

Titus Kaphar: Let’s be absolutely clear about this. The Impressionists of their time, these guys are on stipends from Mom and Dad, allowing them to go out and paint. They lived an incredibly privileged life that is an exception to most people’s experience as artists in the world. Mom and Dad are not paying for you to live in some fancy apartment and paying for your models to come in and paying for your assistants and all of this other stuff.

MEDIUM Watercolor and graphite on tan wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES ca. 1875–1876
    DIMENSIONS 8 3/16 x 10 5/8 in. (20.8 x 27 cm) Frame: 16 3/8 x 21 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (41.6 x 54 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed lower right: "E Manet"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Frank L. Babbott
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883). The Equestrienne (L'Amazone), ca. 1875–1876. Watercolor and graphite on tan wove paper, 8 3/16 x 10 5/8 in. (20.8 x 27 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Frank L. Babbott, 23.45 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 23.45_reference_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 23.45_reference_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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