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The Reader

Édouard Manet, French, 1832–1883
Joseph Gall, French, 1807–1886
Oil on canvas
Made in
Paris, Île-de-France, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 217
39 1/4 x 32 in. (99.7 x 81.3 cm)
framed: 49 3/4 x 41 7/8 x 4 1/16 in. (126.4 x 106.4 x 10.3 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Edouard Manet represented his elderly friend, the painter Joseph Gall, absorbed in reading a large book. The ledge in the foreground serves as a barrier, establishing distance between the sitter and the viewer. The artist’s palette is muted and restrained. Although Manet never participated in any of the Impressionist exhibitions, he was closely associated with the group; his lively, inventive brushwork is evident in the sitter’s left hand, depicted with a few rapid and abstract brush marks.
1872 -
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France, purchased from the artist [1]

- 1874
M. Frémyn [2]

1874 - 1907
Jean-Baptiste Faure (1830-1914), purchased from M. Frémyn, through Galerie Durand-Ruel [3]

1907 - 1915
Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paris, France and New York, NY, USA, purchased from Jean-Baptiste Faure [4]

1915 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Durand-Ruel Galleries [5]

The main source for this provenance is Anthea Callen's article on the relationship between Faure and Manet [Callen, Anthea. "Faure and Manet." "Gazette des Beaux-Arts" 83 (March 1974): 163]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] Paul Durand-Ruel, owner of Galerie Durand-Ruel, describes his acquisition of "The Reader" from Manet in his memoirs [Venturi, Lionello, ed. "Les Archives de l'mpressionisme: Lettres de Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley et Autres. Mémoires de Paul Durand-Ruel. Documents." Paris: Durand-Ruel, 1939, 189-190].

[2] According to Anthea Callen's examination of Durand-Ruel's "Brouillard," "Grand Livre," and "Grand Journal" ledger books, a M. Frémyn owned the painting at the time of its 1874 sale to Jean-Baptiste Faure.

[3] See note [2]. The Faure collection, including "The Reader," was published in 1906 [Durand-Ruel. "Exposition de 24 Tableaux et Aquarelles par Manet Formant la collection Faure." Paris: Durand-Ruel, 1906]. Faure sold the painting to Durand-Ruel in 1907 [Venturi, 190].

[4] See note [3]. According to the catalogue raisonné, "The Reader" was at the Durand-Ruel Galleries New York location by 1909 [Rouart, Denis. "Edouard Manet, Catalogue raisonné." Lausanne: La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1975, cat. no. 35]. A Durand-Ruel invoice dated November 15, 1915, records the sale to the Museum [SLAM document files].

[5] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, November 17, 1915.
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