Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Interview Edouard Manet

edouard manet.

On Monday I posted a blog that was about Nana--the book by Emile Zola, and the painting by Edouard Manet.  But little did you know that only a few days prior I got to interview Manet himself!  Yes, it's true; Colleen from Bookphilia taught me how to interview dead people.  And I was super-excited to get the chance to talk to Manet--you'll see why.

Heidenkind: Bonjour, Monsieur Manet.  Je suis trés contente que vous pouvez joindre à moi!

Manet: Enchanté, Mademoiselle Heidenkind.  Thank you very much for inviting me.

Heidenkind: You can speak English?!?

Manet: Yes, I learned.

Heidenkind: Oh. Phew! My French is a little rusty.

Manet: Naturellement. You speak very well... for an American.

Heidenkind: Um, thanks. Monsieur Manet, I have to tell you that you're one of my all-time favorite artists.  But I've always wondered, do you consider yourself a great artist?

Manet:  Que?!  Il ne fait aucun doute que! 

Heidenkind:  But a lot of your work wasn't really successful...

Manet:  Sacrilege!  Am I to judge my work by the standards of those... pointilleux academicians who never want their heads stimulated by a thought?!

Heidenkind:  Well, you submitted to the Salons every year that they were held, so clearly you did want your work judged by the Academicians and believed in the Salon system.

Manet:  Hmph.  I knew they would hate much of my paintings, vraiment.  But as I say, they had no imagination.

Heidenkind:  You didn't expect them to hate Olympia, did you?

Manet:  *glares* Mademoiselle, I was a great artist, and any misunderstandings the critics labored under was their misfortune.  Now, shall we change the subject?

Heidenkind:  Very well.  What were your feelings for Berthe Morisot?

Manet:  *turning red* Brotherly affection, only!

Heidenkind:  Really?  Marni R. Kessler pointed out in an article in The Art Bulletin that your portraits of Morisot became increasingly unfavorable as her romance with your brother, Eugène, progressed; and your final portrait of her, created shortly after their engagement was announced, makes her face look like a skull.

Manet:  How very observant of this Monsieur Kessler.

Heidenkind:  I think it's a woman.

Manet:  Ha!

*long awkward pause*

Heidenkind:  Are you going to answer my question?

Manet:  I do not like to feed the romantic fantasies of young women any more than necessary; they are quite capable of doing that on their own, non?

Heidenkind:  Monsieur, I suspect that what you know about young women wouldn't fill a pin's head.  *smile smile smile*  Fine, what should we talk about next?  Your love/hate relationship with Degas, syphilis, or whether your adopted son was actually your son or your nephew or your brother?

Manet:  Mon Dieu, but you historiennes sont feuineuse!  How does one say--gossipy.  Why do you not ask me about my work?

Heidenkind:  Okay--why do so many of your paintings have such a sense of loneliness and isolation?  What was your message in Gare St. Lazare?  What do you think is your most important work?  Is The Absinthe Drinker a self-portrait?

Manet:  Are these the things you truly want to know?

Heidenkind:  Er, what do you mean?

Manet:  I can sense that you truly do not care about how I feel about my work, non?  You already have the answers to all your questions in your own mind.  So why, one must wonder, did you call me for this interview at all?  Perhaps you are interested in something else?

Heidenkind:  *blushing furiously*  How... why... uhmmmmmm....

Manet:  Please, mademoiselle, get to the point.  The afterlife is too short to beat around the bush.

Heidenkind:  *takes off glasses* Do you want to make out?

Manet:  *wolfish grin*

Heidenkind:  *swoon*

Okay, well, I don't think we need to see much more of that interview!  What, you never crushed on a dead person???

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