Édouard Manet The Monet Family in Their Garden at Argenteuil 1874

“I find myself showing off, which is the idiot’s version of being interesting.” [Steve Martin LA Story]

On July 23, Manet had been invited to paint en plein air in the garden of Monet’s rented villa on the rue Pierre Guienne (a house that Manet had found for him three years earlier). In a vibrating, high-keyed canvas, Manet portrayed Camille Monet and their seven-year-old son Jean seated on the lawn, with Monet in his painter’s smock tending to the flowers behind them. As Sauerländer observes in one of his most endearing insights, a cock, hen, and chick line up in the left foreground, affectionately paraphrasing the family as in an animal fable.
While Manet was at work, Renoir arrived, borrowed paints, brushes, and a canvas from Monet, and executed a vivid close-up of Camille and Jean, joined by the rooster. Irritated by Renoir’s intrusion, Manet is reported to have told Monet, “He has no talent, that boy. Since he’s your friend, you should tell him to give up painting!” [Colin B. Bailey on Manet, Monet and Renoir]

Pierre-Auguste Renoir Camille Monet and Her Son Jean in the Garden at Argenteuil 1874

They shake your hand and they smile
And they buy you a drink
They say we’ll be your friends
We’ll stick with you till the end
Ah but everybody’s only
Looking out for themselves
And you say well who can you trust
I’ll tell you it’s just
Nobody else’s
Money changes everything
[Cyndi Lauper Money Changes Everything]

“Fischl found himself co-opted into the wild and whirling art world of 1980s New York – his first experience of the milieu he has lately been documenting. Warhol visited his studio, and offered his blessing. “He sought out youth, he was always curious about what was going on,” Fischl recalls. “Most of the artists we admired wanted to be outside society looking in. Warhol wanted to be right at the centre of high society and still be radical. It was as if he wanted to infect it from the inside out.
Looking back on what quickly became a frenzy of parties and gallery openings and cocaine and booze and money – which had little to do with his original change-the-world ambitions for his art – Fischl admits it was nevertheless “all incredibly exciting. It was like a spinning world, it had real centrifugal force. Traditional art magazines couldn’t keep up so the dailies took their place. Artist’s photographs were appearing in the arts and entertainment pages next to those of rock stars and film stars. It was like a wave had picked us up.” [Tim Adams on Eric Fischl]

“It was one of the most gratifying moments of my career. The Sleepwalker show in 1980 had been a hit, and Bad Boy was a home run in terms of the reception it got. There was certainly a lot of positive energy coming out of those first two shows. But success felt uncomfortable to me. Perhaps that discomfort was a form of self-preservation, a way of countering my manic sense of hubris and guilt, the dark side of my competitiveness. All I know is that rather than creating a sense of elation, my success stirred up old fears and insecurities in me. I didn’t really believe I deserved the rewards I was suddenly getting.” [Eric Fischl Bad Boy]
“When Fischl compares his early paintings to those of Edgar Degas and Max Beckmann, or when he notes his more recently felt relationship to Edward Hopper, then you see how hard he is to place within a history of contemporary art.” [David Carrier on Eric Fischl’s Bad Boy]

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