It is said the early masterpieces of Edouard Manet marked the start of modern art. He was one of the first artists to paint modern life and played a pivotal part in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. He was born in 1832 in Paris to an affluent and well-connected family. It was envisioned for Edouard to pursue a career in law but his Uncle encouraged Manet to pursue his passion of painting.
In 1845 he enrolled to do a special course of drawing and during 1850 – 1856 Manet studied under the academic painter, Thomas Courter. Also during these years Manet travelled through Germany, Netherlands and Italy where he was influenced by the Dutch artist, Frans Hals and Spanish artists, Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.
In 1856 Edouard opened his own studio and in this year still adopted the current style of Realism, but during 1863 his work started to take on Impressionism undertones. He was inspired by the works of Monet and Morisot and by the 1870s the use of lighter background colours is noted. Manet’s artistic career lasted from his first exhibited piece in 1861 to his death in 1883 and during that time his extensive work covered 430 oil paintings, 89 pastels and over 400 works on paper.