Last month I was in Paris where I spent some time at the inspirational D’Orsay museum where no one works were more impressive than Manet’s and where, because this was out of the tourist season, I could stand alone in front of his most famous picture and marvel. I also realized that I wasn’t going to be seeing this at the London Manet exhibition which is still running and where I’m off to today.
The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) 1863
I’ve known and loved his
Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère for a long time as it has its permanent home in London at the Courtauld Institute but I noticed when I was last there that it wasn’t on exhibition so I’m hoping to see it again at the royal Academy’s blockbuster exhibition.
I have known it since student days but it now has added poignancy for me not only because i have visited many more bars since I first saw this painting but also because that distant look on the barmaid’s face now reminds me of the feeling I get, post brain haemorrhage, when I have what the neurologist called an “absence” – a moment often in a crowded space when my mind just leaves the room for a moment or two. Manet makes me feel that it is not always a bad thing to go absent. I’m looking forward to this new encounter with one of France’s greatest artists.
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère), 1882
STEPHEN DEARSLEY’S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL
My first novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, is published on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
You can pre-order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing: