Marguerite de Conflans, later to be Mme d'Angely
Although Manet is a friend to the impressionists with whom he shares many interests, he refuses to participate in their exhibitions. Indeed, while the impressionists are mainly landscape specialists, open air painters, Manet is above all a painter of people, a chronicler of contemporary urban life. Around 1875, when the impressionist revolution is raging, Manet paints the portrait of this young society girl, Marguerite de Conflans, brunette and pretty, portrayed in privacy, who had become Madame d’Angely after her marriage. The young painter Pierre-Georges Jeanniot, visiting his elder not long before the latter passed away, is able to comment that “although Manet paints his pieces from the model, he doesn’t copy nature at all”. It is no doubt in this paradox that a large part of the enchanting charm of this pictorial novelty is to be found.