Fantin-Latour painted him wearing a top hat, dark jacket, and dove-gray trousers, and holding a walking stick across his thighs with both hands, the right glove clasped in the left fist, in an attitude of aristocratic mastery. This, one feels, is not only how Fantin saw him but how he wished to be seen: standing under the awning at Tortoni’s or on his way to the races, his brow slightly knit in a fine masculine seriousness—“settee tête,” as Fantin put it, “de Gaulois.”

When Manet posed for Fantin he had already been settled for some five years— since his father’s death in 1862—in a spacious apartment on the rue St.-Petersbourg. With him lived his mother, his wife, and his wife’s little brother, whom he treated like a son. Fantin’s splendid portrait at once went up in the parlor, to preside over a domestic interior and a family circle quite as bourgeois as any in...

 

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