Courbet felt that if he was no longercontroversial, he would no longer be important. On the other hand, ÉdouardManet wanted to become one of the leading French painters of his time, and itwas evident that an artist had been born. He felt that progress in his work wasonly going to be made if he looked at nature as it is, rather than copyingthose above him; this was see as Manet speaking his own language that belongedentirely to him (Zola, 1867).
In terms of LeDéjeuner sur l’Herbe, it isnot definite to when Manet began to paint this canvas, who the models were orhow he decided on the posing but it is certain that this painting was hislargest paintings. One cannot be certain to the meaning of this painting, whichgave it endless possibilities and attracted attention from critics (Tucker,1998). There were some disapproving remarks from critics, but many positivecomments made about Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe. One criticeven stated Manet would “triumph one day, we do not doubt, over all theobstacles which he encounters, and we will be the first to applaud his success”(Tucker, 1998). This painting, Manet’s most famous,remained in his hand until 1878 when opera singer Jules France purchased it forher collection of Impressionist art (Tucker, 1998). Manet’swork immediately became a standard for avant-garde painters; he was involved inboth society and political events of his time and focused on the relation ofthe artist to society rather than a social fact (Nochlin, 1991). The way inwhich Manet executed his work, the environment he displayed it and the ways itrelates to past was a major aspect to art in Manet’s time.
Manet had submittedtwo paintings – The Spanish Singer andPortrait of M. and Mme. Auguste Manet- to the jury for the 1861 Salon. As well as gaining admission to the Salon,Manet received positive acknowledgement from the jury, which was a majorachievement in his career (Tucker, 1998). Throughout Manet’s work,one can see the fundamental elements of art, such as line, colour, light, and shade.
Itis seen in many of Manet’s work that Gustave Courbet’s details playedsignificant role in the overall creations, especiallyin Le Déjeuner as the useof real life subjects are drawn used with Courbet’s palette knife. The twoartists tend to use similar shading techniques in Le Déjeuner and ThePainter’s Studio where they are highlighting and important figure in eachpainting, the nude woman. Each artist’s work represents real and existing as “abstract,invisible or nonexistent objects do not belong in the realm of painting”(Nochlin, 1991). Courbet and Manet wanted to depict working class laborers, andpeasants but on a large scale, which in the nineteenth century was reserved forhistory painting.