Manet was the quintessential "Painter of Modern Life," a phrase coined by art critic and poet Charles Baudelaire. In 1878-79, he painted a number of scenes set in the Cabaret de Reichshoffen on the Boulevard Rochechouart, where women on the fringes of society freely intermingled with well-heeled gentlemen. Here, Manet captures the kaleidoscopic pleasures of Parisian nightlife. The figures are crowded into the compact space of the canvas, each one seemingly oblivious of the others. When exhibited at La Vie Moderne gallery in 1880, this work was praised by some for its unflinching realism and criticized by others for its apparent crudeness.


  • Title: At the Café
  • Date Created: ca. 1879
  • Physical Dimensions: w58.1026 x h47.3 x d9.525 cm
  • Type: paintings
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1909-10, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Provenance: Boussaton, 1881; Boussaton Sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 15, 1891, no. 61; A. M. Haviland, Limoges [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; J. B. Faure, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Collection J. B. Faure Sale, Paris, 1902, no. 38; Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1907 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1909, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: France
  • Inscriptions: [Signature] Lower left: Manet
  • ExhibitionHistory: From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth Century Paintings Owned in Maryland. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1951; From El Greco to Pollock: Early and Late Works by European and American Artists. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1968; Manet and Modern Paris. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 1982-1983; Manet, 1832-1883. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1983; The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984; Manet's Working Methods. The Courtauld Gallery, London. 1986; Impressionism, the City and Modern Life. Ordrupgaard, Charlottenlund. 1996; Before Monet: Landscape Painting in France and Impressionist Masters: Highlights from The Walters Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998; Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001; Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000; Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. 2000-2002; A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004; 19th Century Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. 2010-2011
  • Artist: Edouard Manet

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