Le serveuse de bocks (The Waitress) (1879) by Edouard Manet

Le serveuse de bocks (The Waitress) - Edouard Manet - c.1879

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Artwork Information

TitleLe serveuse de bocks (The Waitress)
ArtistEdouard Manet
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions77.5 x 65 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris
Location Created Paris, France

About Le serveuse de bocks (The Waitress)

“Le serveuse de bocks (The Waitress)” is an artwork by Edouard Manet, dating to around 1879. It is an oil on canvas piece, currently housed in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. This painting measures 77.5 x 65 cm and is executed in the Impressionist style, which was revolutionary during the late 19th century for its loose brushwork and depiction of modern life. As a genre painting, it captures an everyday scene in a Parisian setting, where Manet was active as an artist.

The artwork portrays a waitress, standing with a nonchalant pose, looking directly at the viewer. Her expression is neutral, bordering on detached, indicative of the mundane reality of her job. In the foreground, a patron is depicted in profile, seemingly engaged in the act of drinking from a small glass, the details of which are rendered with rapid, defining strokes characteristic of the Impressionist movement. The waitress’s attire is typical of her profession at the time, suggesting an end-of-day moment.

Manet’s use of color and light reflects the transient quality of contemporary life. The setting is a café, where the ambiance is suggested rather than meticulously defined, leaving much to the viewer’s interpretation. The composition expertly conveys a candid moment in Parisian social life, capturing the spatial relationships between the patron and the waitress with a casual ease that belies the skill required to organize such a scene on canvas.

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