Woman in Riding Habit, Fulllface, c. 1882
Oil on canvas; 73 x 52 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
From the Museo Thyseen-Bornemisza catalog: “The Woman in a Riding Habit, Fullface belongs to an unfinished series on the subject of the Four Seasons which Manet painted in the last two years of his life as a commission from his friend Antonin Proust, the Minister of Fine Arts.”
It is most likely that Woman in Riding Habit was intended to represent summer, though the heavy black riding outfit, with its top hat and high buttoned collar hardly seems ideal summer attire. Manet’s most famous models were Berthe Morisot, his sister-in-law and fellow artist, and Victorine Meurent. This is a new sitter, a famous actress in the comedie francaise, but the style is what we would expect from Manet, the father of impressionism. It’s a striking image, one that drips of modernity.