Before other painters of the immediately subsequent generations such as Degas or Toulouse-Lautrec dedicated themselves to portraying the most everyday scenes in the nights of Paris at the end of the 19th century, that had already been done by Edouard Manet, as we can see in this work en titled Corner in a café-concert.
Corner in a cafe Manet concert
However, there is a feature that differentiates his paintings, and that is that Manet paints those characters and those environments in a very cold way, at times almost contemptuous. That may be because deep down he was a bourgeois from a very we althy family. But the fact is that he portrays them with very hard and flat brushstrokes, which marks the distancing towards the portrayed of him. Because he really did portraits of the characters, like here the waitress we see certainly worked in that place.
In this canvas we are facing part of a larger work. Since originally it was only the right area of a larger fabric en titled Brasserie de Reichshoffen. But he must not have convinced her of the outfit, so he cut her off. And not only that, but he also retouched it, adding a new background where he incorporated the dancer and the band of musicians.
There are many works byManetin which we see his passion for dark tones and the color black. Above all, that is palpable in his early works. However, here he clarifies a bitpalette, and above all he adds tones that were inconceivable in a previous phase, such as blue or mauve.
But perhaps more striking than the color, is the framing. Something that is clearly indebted to the emerging art of photography, which fascinated the author. This is due to the cut of the pictorial planes, which gives a modernity to the scene that has rarely been seen before.
Those different shots are occupied by the three characters he is portraying. The waitress, the dancer and the man sitting at the table. And not only is each character in different shots, they don't even look at each other. Everyone is in his world. The dancer makes her performance even though no one is looking at her, as if she were an automaton. The man at the table smokes his pipe and is absent from everything. While the waitress looks out of the cloth, as if she wants to go from there
The truth is that this painting, without being Manet's most famous compared to his Olympia or The Balcony, is quite a sample of his way of painting the Paris of his epoch.