1st Edition

Manet, Wagner, and the Musical Culture of Their Time

By Therese Dolan Copyright 2013
    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    How did the tumult caused by German composer Richard Wagner result in the first modernist painting? In the first full-length book dedicated to the study of Edouard Manet and music, art historian Therese Dolan demonstrates that the 1862 painting Music in the Tuileries represents the progressive musical culture of his time, heretofore read by scholars predominantly through the words of Charles Baudelaire. Dolan sees in this painting's radical style the conceptual shift to modernism in both painting and music, a transition that, she convincingly argues, received a strong impetus from Manet's Music in the Tuileries and Wagner's controversial Tannhäuser, which premiered the previous year. Supplemental to analysis of the painting, Dolan incorporates discussion of texts by Theophile Gautier, Champfleury, and Baudelaire who are represented in the painting. This book incorporates studies of the major artistic, literary, and musical figures of nineteenth-century France. It represents an important contribution to an understanding of French culture in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, a period of intense literary, artistic, and musical activity that formed the crucible for modernism.

    Contents: Introduction: Manet’s soundscape; Wagner in Paris: the music of the future; Listening to color and seeing sound: Baudelaire, Wagner and Manet; Transposing and composing; Gautier, Wagner and Manet; Realism and music: Champfleury, Courbet, Wagner and Manet; Ebony keys: Fantin’s Venusberg scene and Manet’s Balloon; Serious spoofing: Offenbach, Wagner and Manet; Facing the music: Wagner and Manet; Conclusion: MéloManet; Bibliography; Index.


    Therese Dolan is Professor of Art History and Women’s Studies at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, USA.

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    'Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, amply quoted... and exhibiting a solid command of the vast secondary literature, Dolan paints a vivid picture of what was at stake in discussions of Wagner's and Manet's merits... The book is generously illustrated, with portraits of the writers and artists featured, reproductions of many of the works discussed, and caricatures and cartoons from the press... Readers will come away from this study with a far richer appreciation not only of Manet's painting but also of the vast canvas of the arts scene, with its friendships, rivalries, and public debates, in mid-nineteenth-century Paris.' French Studies

    'The richness of Dolan’s book lies in the wealth of literary-critical, artistic, and musical perspectives it brings into view ... Dolan’s sure command of the primary sources attests to long immersion in these materials, and she has an admirable gift for evoking the texture of Parisian life for a choice group of artists, musicians, and critics circa 1862 ...' Nineteenth-Century French Studies

    ’The book is a joy and a revelation.’ H-France

    'This book offers interesting angles on what could be called the "dawn of modernism". It is thoroughly researched, and its many apt illustrations testify (among other things) to the vigorous art of caricature in the period.' New Zealand Journal of French Studies