Edouard Manet – Luncheon in the Studio

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Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet was born in Paris on January 23, 1832, to an affluent and well connected family. His mother, Eugenie-Desiree Fournier, was the goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince, Charles Bernadotte. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Edouard to pursue a career in law. His uncle, Charles Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and often took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1845, following the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts, and a subsequent life-long friend. At his father’s suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro. After twice failing the examination to join the navy, the elder Manet relented to his son’s wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time he copied the old masters in the Louvre. From 1853 to 1856 he visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, where he was influenced by Dutch and Spanish artists. Manet died of untreated syphilis and rheumatism, which he contracted in his forties. The disease caused him considerable pain and partial paralysis from locomotor ataxia in the years prior to his death. His left foot was amputated because of gangrene, an operation followed eleven days later by his death. He died at the age of fifty-one in Paris in 1883, and is buried in the Cimetiere de Passy in the city. In 2000, one of his paintings sold for over $20 million.

Luncheon in the Studio

Manet’s step-son Leenhoff is the focus of the painting, with his back to the other two people, who have at various points been identified as his mother and Manet himself. These identifications are now seen as incorrect, although the man smoking at the table bears a resemblance to Manet, and the woman gazing toward the viewer is a servant. Nevertheless, it is the majority’s interpretation that the two figures may symbolically represent Suzanne and Édouard, who accept young Leenhoff as their son.
In an generally muted and dim colour scheme, the yellow in Leenhoff’s tie, trousers, and straw hat connect with the lemon on the table. All the warm colours seem to be focused on him as opposed to the rest of the painting, which is composed mostly of a colder colour scheme, again making him the focus of this particular work of art. The table holds more conventional subjects of the genre, including a lemon, a knife and various dishes from the time period. In this way Manet represents both the “romantic” and “naturalistic” modes of his art. Given the presence of the man in the background, one can conclude that smoking was popular among “young romantics”.

Late 19th century – early 20th century cuisine

A system of “parties” was created, called the brigade system, which separated the professional kitchen into five separate stations.
These five stations included the “garde manger” that prepared cold dishes; the “entremettier” prepared starches and vegetables, the “rôtisseur” prepared roasts, grilled and fried dishes; the “saucier” prepared sauces and soups; and the “pâtissier” prepared all pastry and desserts items. This system meant that instead of one person preparing a dish on one’s own, now multiple cooks would prepare the different components for the dish. An example used is “oeufs au plat Meyerbeer”, the prior system would take up to fifteen minutes to prepare the dish, while in the new system, the eggs would be prepared by the entremettier, kidney grilled by the rôtisseur, truffle sauce made by the saucier and thus the dish could be prepared in a shorter time and served quickly in the popular restaurants.
Escoffier also simplified and organized the modern menu and structure of the meal. He published a series of articles in professional journals which outlined the sequence, and then he finally published his Livre des menus in 1912. This type of service embraced the service à la russe (serving meals in separate courses on individual plates), which Félix Urbain Dubois had made popular in the 1860s.
Le Guide Culinaire deemphasized the use of heavy sauces and leaned toward lighter fumets, which are the essence of flavor taken from fish, meat and vegetables. This style of cooking looked to create garnishes and sauces whose function is to add to the flavor of the dish, rather than mask flavors like the heavy sauces and ornate garnishes of the past. Expensive ingredients would replace the common ingredients, making the dishes much less humble.

Dishes from the time period:
• assoles à la normande
• galette de plomb
• Eggs sur le plat Meyerbeer (Oeufs sur le plat Meyerbeer)
• pêche Melba
• Crêpes Suzette

7-hour Leg of Lamb
lamb leg, weighing 1.5 kg
1 kg cucumbers
1 kg of zucchini
450 g tomatoes
450 g onions
24 cloves garlic
4 l of beef broth
80 grams of butter
thyme flowers
salt and pepper

Separate the lamb meat from the bone, leaving only the thigh, and cover the leg with garlic.
You will need a pot with thick walls in which to fry the meat and then cook it in the oven. In the pot brown all sides of the leg of lamb in butter. Add salt and pepper, crumbled vegetables and thyme. Pour the boiling broth into the pan, so that it covers half a leg, close the lid and cook in the oven at 150 C for 7 hours. Every half an hour check the pan, stir the vegetables and broth, if necessary, topped up. The meat should be so tender that it can be eaten with a spoon.

Languedoc Sauce
200 g of finely crumbled ham
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup oil or fat
2 1/2 cup white wine
60 g (2 oz) flour
1 onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni
The lamb leg can be served with this sauce.
Take 4-5 heads of garlic, split them into cloves, cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, then peel them and set aside. Fry the bacon in butter on low heat. Add the crumbled onion, and when it softens, add the flour, stirring carefully. Then pour the wine and broth, add the garni bouquet and a little pepper, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Then add all the garlic and cook until it is tender.
The sauce can be served with pork, lamb, beef and sausages.

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