MANET, Edouard
(b. 1832, Paris, d. 1883, Paris)

Le Bon Bock (Portrait of Emile Bellot)

Oil on canvas, 94 x 83 cm
Museum of Art, Philadelphia

This painting was presented at the 1873 Salon. It is somewhat classical in manner, Hals-like in its virtuosity and relatively dark in tone. It won a "mention honorable" at the Salon.

The painting was widely identified as a French Alsatian patriot drinking his regional beer. The picture came to serve as a popular symbol of the recent loss of the Alsace-Lorraine region by France to the Germans and a liberal political symbol of national introspection. This association of Le Bon Bock with democratic ideals inspired Emile Bellot, a printmaker and the model for Manet's corpulent beer drinker, to organize the Bon Bock Society in 1875. For almost fifty years this group hosted monthly dinners in and around Montmartre for its membership, which consisted mostly of artists, writers, and performers.