Past Exhibition: Manet's The Dead Toreador

Manet's The Dead Toreador and The Bullfight: Fragments of a Lost Salon Painting Reunited

May 25, 1999 to August 29, 1999

In another in a series of single-picture loan exhibitions, The Frick Collection displayed for three months one of the most famous paintings by Édouard Manet (1832-83), The Dead Toreador, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It was hung beside the Collection's own Manet oil, The Bullfight. Both paintings were originally part of a larger work, Incident in a Bullfight, exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1864. Perhaps in reaction to harsh criticism by the press, or in order to create two stronger works, Manet cut out two large sections of the Incident and developed them into independent paintings, discarding the rest of the canvas. He made no record of the appearance of the Salon painting, but caricatures of the period and X-radiographs provide clues to the original composition. This reunion of the fragments — the first since they left Manet's studio — afforded an opportunity to examine each of them in the context of the lost Salon painting and shed light on Manet's unusual working methods. Organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Associate Curator at The Frick Collection, the exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated brochure and a display of books.

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