Art: Still Fresh As Ever

After a century, Manet's still lifes remain knockouts

Throughout his life, but especially toward its end in 1883, that lion of early modernism, Edouard Manet, loved to paint still lifes. Even in his portraits, his arrangements of things--books, bottles, crockery, flowers, food--are given a prominence that nearly puts them on a par with people. His art wasn't dominated by still life, as Cubism would be; but the inanimate has a large and vital presence in his work. That much is evident from the beautiful show at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, curated by George Maunet, "Manet: The Still-Life Paintings." What one might not have realized before, though, is...

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