Victorine Meurent (1844 - 1927)

Victorine Meurent
1844 - 1927
updated February 06, 2019
Victorine Meurent was born on February 18, 1844 at Paris, France. She died on March 17, 1927 at Colombe, France at 83 years of age.

Victorine-Louise Meurent (also Meurant) (February 18, 1844 – March 17, 1927) was a French painter and a famous model for painters. Although she is best known as the favourite model of Édouard Manet, she was also an artist in her own right who regularly exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon. In 1876 her paintings were selected for inclusion at the Salon's juried exhibition, when Manet's work was not.
Biography
Born in Paris to a family of artisans (her father was a patinator of bronzes, while her mother was a milliner), Meurent started modeling at the age of sixteen in the studio of Thomas Couture and may also have studied art at his women's atelier. Meurent first modeled for Manet in 1862, for his painting The Street Singer. Manet was first drawn to Meurent when he saw her in the street, carrying her guitar. She was particularly noticeable for her petite stature, which earned her the nickname La Crevette (The Shrimp),[4] and for her red hair, which is depicted as very bright in Manet's watercolor copy of Olympia. As well as playing the guitar, Meurent also played the violin, gave lessons in the two instruments, and sang in café-concerts.
Meurent's name remains forever associated with Manet's masterpieces of 1863, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, which include nude portrayals of her. At that time she also modeled for Edgar Degas and the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens, both close friends of Manet. Her relationship with Stevens is said to have been particularly close.
Manet continued to use Meurent as a model until the early 1870s, when she began taking art classes and they became estranged, as she was drawn to the more academic style of painting that Manet opposed.[citation needed] The last Manet painting in which Meurent appears is Gare Saint-Lazare (Not to be confused with Monet's painting of the same name), painted in 1873, which is often referred to as The Railway. The painting is considered the best example of Manet's use of contemporary subject matter.
In 1875, Meurent began studying with the portraitist fr:Étienne Leroy. The following year, Meurent first submitted work of her own at the Salon and was accepted. Ironically, Manet's own submissions were rejected by the jury that year. Bourgeoise de Nuremberg au XVIe siècle, Meurent's entry at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1879, was hung in the same room as the entry by Manet. Work by Meurent also was included in the 1885 and 1904 exhibitions. In all, Meurent exhibited in the Salon six times. She also continued to support herself by modelling through the 1880s for Norbert Goeneutte, an artist best known for his etchings, and for Toulouse-Lautrec, who took to introducing her as Olympia.
Meurent was inducted into the Société des Artistes Français in 1903, with the support of Charles Hermann-Leon and Tony Robert-Fleury, the Société's founder. By 1906 Meurent had left Paris for the suburb of Colombes, where she lived with a woman named Marie Dufour for the remainder of her life. The two appear to have shared ownership of their house. In her eighties she continued to refer to herself as an artist, as recorded in a census from that time. Meurent died on March 17, 1927. After the death of Dufour in 1930, the contents of the house were liquidated; in the late twentieth century, elderly neighbours recalled the last contents of the house, "including a violin and its case, being burnt on a bonfire." [If you believe French people would throw a violin into a bonfire, you would have to be insane. It's just another lie spread by a jealous and mediocre art student or art historian!]
A painting by Meurent, Le Jour des Rameaux or Palm Sunday was recovered in 2004 and now hangs in the Colombes History Museum. She was given a medal by the French government usually awarded to war heroes. I have researched her life for 40 years and hundreds of lies have been published about her by people who were either drunk or had very little talent. Some art historians spelled her name wrong on purpose [Victorine Meurand] although it is clearly listed as Victorine Meurent. Some writers had her drunk and dead at the age of thirty when she clearly lived to be eighty-three years old!

As a person with a huge library about "Nellie Bly" I have met mediocre writers who have never published anything significant who said that Nellie Bly died poor and friendless. She died with 2 funerals, $60,000 in the bank, a portfolio of stocks, famous friends, and had a fantastic life as an author and a journalist. Amanda S. Stevenson
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Victorine Meurent Biography

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Victorine Meurent
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Female
Gender
Victorine
First name
Unknown
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Unknown
Maiden name
Meurent
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Victorine Meurent was born on at Paris, France,
Birth
Victorine Meurent died on at Colombe, France,
Death
Victorine Meurent was born on at Paris, France,
Victorine Meurent died on at Colombe, France,
Birth
Death
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Amanda S. Stevenson
10.5k+ favorites
A great artist, a famous model, a wonderful violinist, a talented guitarist, and highly respected and dearly loved by the most famous of Impressionist artists working in Paris.
Oct 17, 2017 · Reply
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.5k+ favorites
Victorine Meurent: The Unvarnished Story of Manet’s Muse
By Hazel Smith - Sep 13, 2016 2471 4 Print Print Email Email

Olympia, Musée d’Orsay 1863
At the heart of many of Édouard Manet’s paintings is a ginger-haired woman that, although not identical from picture to picture, turns out to be the same model. The nudes in the French painter’s Dejeuner sur L’Herbe and Olympia – both in the permanent collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris – the demure Young Lady in 1866, The Street Singer, The Gare St. Lazare, even the boy in The Fifer are all Victorine Meurent.

Victorine-Louise Meurent, despite being the model for a coterie of famous Parisian male painters, was an artist in her own right – one who exhibited repeatedly at the prestigious Paris Salon– a fact lost in her elusive history. Because Édouard Manet painted Meurent as a courtesan or a demi-mondaine, viewers had the misconception that Victorine was a girl of the streets when in fact she came from a family of hardworking craftspeople and aspired to an art career at an early age.

Victorine Meurent 1844 - 1927, BNF Gallica
Victorine Meurent 1844 – 1927, BNF Gallica
Born in 1844 to a mother who worked as a hat-maker and laundress and a father who worked embellishing bronzes, Victorine Meurent started modeling at the age of sixteen in the studio of Thomas Couture. Couture also offered drawing classes for women and young Victorine may have developed her artistic talent at that time.

Street Singer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1862
Street Singer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1862
Édouard Manet may have first encountered Victorine Meurent in Couture’s studio. Meurent first modeled for Manet at age eighteen, posing for The Street Singer. Known for singing in local cafes, Victorine also played guitar and the violin and gave lessons in both instruments. Manet’s close friend and supporter, poet Charles Baudelaire urged artists to find inspiration in contemporary everyday scenes, to capture what he called “the heroism of modern life.” Victorine was well-suited for this type of modeling and soon became Manet’s muse. Victorine also modeled for Manet’s friends, Edgar Degas, Puvis de Chavanne and the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens with whom she was romantically involved. Unconventionally pretty, Victorine was conspicuous for her petite stature and her red hair. Consequently, she acquired the nickname La Crevette, The Shrimp.

Victorine Meurent would have been notorious in Paris circles. When Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe was first exhibited at the 1863, the public’s response ranged from laughter to outright violence with more than one visitor expressing his outrage by striking out at the image. As the model for Manet’s Olympia, Victorine’s image was ridiculed as looking like a female gorilla with green and decaying flesh. In eighteenth and nineteenth-century art, female nudes were always appreciated, as long as they represented mythical goddesses and heroines. In contrast, the women represented by Victorine in Manet’s most famous paintings, Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe and Olympia, clearly belonged to contemporary Paris.

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, Musée d’Orsay 1863
Manet continued to employ Victorine as a model until the early 1870s, when she resumed her art classes and they parted ways. Victorine was drawn to the more academic style of painting to which Manet was long-opposed. Trying her luck on the other side of the canvas Victorine attended evening classes at the Académie Julian in 1875 under the tutelage of the painter Etienne Leroy. Her self-portrait was shown at the Paris Salon the following year.

In 1876, the year in which Victorine Meurent’s self-portrait was displayed in the Salon, Manet failed to get his work accepted. M is for Manet, but M is also for Meurent, and Victorine’s work was hung in the gallery that should have also featured Manet’s. This irony could hardly have skipped his notice. Her entry in the 1879 Salon, A Nuremberg Bourgeoise in the Sixteenth Century, hung in the same room along with Manet’s Self Portrait with Easel. Despite the rumour that in the 1890s Victorine could be found drinking heavily and trying to flog her drawings throughout the streets of Montmartre, she continued to successfully exhibit her art. The Paris Salon accepted and exhibited her submissions six times. In 1903 Meurent was admitted to the Société des Artistes Français. Candidates for this association needed the sponsorship of two members, and one of Victorine’s sponsors was the society’s founder, Tony Robert-Fleury.

Palm Sunday, c. 1880s, Musée Municipal d'Art et d'Histoire de Colombes
Palm Sunday, c. 1880s, Musée Municipal d’Art et d’Histoire de Colombes
Despite her success as an artist and a model, Victorine Meurent did sometimes fall on hard times. Meurent continued to support herself through the 1880s by modeling for Norbert Goeneutte, an artist best known for his etchings, and a young Toulouse-Lautrec. However, shortly after Édouard Manet’s death in 1883, Victorine wrote to his widow, recalling to Madame Manet her late husband’s promise to forward her with some money if he succeeded in selling the paintings for which she had posed. The Widow Manet was not accommodating.

For the last twenty years of her life, Victorine shared a house in Colombes, the suburb of Paris, with a woman named Marie Dufour. Local census records indicate that Victorine continued to call herself an artist.

Meurent died in 1927. After the death of her companion Dufour in 1930, the contents of the house were liquidated and neighbours recalled the last few contents of the house being burned on a bonfire. Only one of Victorine Meurent’s works is known to survive, Le Jour des Rameaux or Palm Sunday was recovered in 2004 and now hangs in the Musée Municipal d’Art et d’Histoire de Colombes. The location of Meurent’s other paintings is unknown and most may be forever lost. A record of the sale of one of her paintings in 1930 was the last report of her works.

Hazel Smith
[external link]
After experiencing an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay, Hazel Smith is currently a mature student of art history at the University of Toronto. Blogger and amateur historian, she has also written for the online travel guide [external link] and for [external link]. Fascinated with the lives of the Impressionists, Hazel has made pilgrimages to the houses and haunts of the artists while in France. She is continually searching for the perfect art history mystery to solve. She maintains the blogs Smartypants Goes to France and The Clever Pup ([external link])
Oct 17, 2017 · Reply

Victorine Meurent Obituary

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Victorine Meurent died on March 17, 1927 at Colombe, France at 83 years of age. She was born on February 18, 1844 at Paris, France. There is no information about Victorine's family.
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1844 - 1927 World Events

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In 1844, in the year that Victorine Meurent was born, on June 6th in London, George Williams set up the first YMCA based on the idea of a healthy "body, mind, and spirit" - what he considered Christian values. Now headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, there are over 57 million worldwide beneficiaries and 125 national associations.

In 1878, by the time she was 34 years old, on September 12th, Cleopatra's Needle, built in Egypt in 1450 B.C. and transported to England, was erected in London. It had arrived in England on January 21st, having been towed by boat.

In 1881, by the time she was 37 years old, on March 4th, James A. Garfield became the 20th President of the United States. On July 2nd, he was shot by Charles Guiteau, a lawyer, in Washington, D.C. The wound became infected and Garfield died on September 19. Vice President Chester A. Arthur immediately became the 21st President.

In 1899, by the time she was 55 years old, on February 4th, the Philippine–American War began. The Philippines objected to the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1898, that transferred possession of the Philippines from Spain to the U.S. Filipinos began a fight for independence and fighting between U.S. forces and those of the Philippine Republic broke out. On June 2nd, the Philippines officially declared war on the United States.

In 1927, in the year of Victorine Meurent's passing, the first "talkie" (a movie with music, songs, and talking), The Jazz Singer, was released. Al Jolson starred as a cantor's son who instead of following in his father's footsteps as expected, becomes a singer of popular songs. Banished by his father, they reconcile on his father's deathbed. It was a tear-jerker and audiences went wild - especially when they heard the songs. Thus begun the demise of silent films and the rise of "talkies".

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