a bar at the folies-bergère

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Painted and exhibited at the Salon in 1882, Manet’s work examines a popular nightclub. While I could talk your ear off about the mirror, I’m more interested in that bowl of oranges.

The Folies-Bergère was a cabaret music hall and known to entertain men in a myriad of ways. Manet lets us know the bartender Suzon is…erm, on the menu…in that he presents her with a bowl of oranges.

Art historian Larry L. Ligo says Manet does this on the reg. Another scholar writes,

The barmaid is “intended to represent one of the prostitutes for which the Folies-Bergère was well-known”, who is represented “as both a salesperson and a commodity—something to be purchased along with a drink.”

Talk about a full-service bar, amiright?!

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