Basket of Fruit
Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)
37.8 x 44.4 cm (14 7/8 x 17 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Not On View
This slight still-life composition served as a pretext for Manet to demonstrate his daring technical innovations. Single brushstrokes, applied wet in wet, evoke the velvet sheen of a peach, the dusky skin of a plum, the ripe form of a fig, the glint of a knife handle. These strokes are in fact so loose and summary that the painting has sometimes been called a study, though no “finished” version of the composition is known. Manet considered this picture sufficiently finished to include it in his first one-man exhibition in 1867.
Lower right: Manet
Passed from the artist to Madame d'Angély (Marguerite de Conflans), Paris [see note 1]; May 28, 1914, sold by Mme. d'Angély to Durand-Ruel, Paris; January 26, 1922, transferred from Durand-Ruel, Paris, to Durand-Ruel, New York; December 20, 1922, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York, to Annie Swan (Mrs. Lewis Larned) Coburn (b. 1856 - d. 1932), Chicago [see note 2]. 1924, with Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 4704); April 21, 1924, sold by Durand-Ruel to John Taylor Spaulding, Boston (b. 1870 - d. 1948); 1948, bequest of John Taylor Spaulding to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)
 According to an undated statement from Durand-Ruel in the MFA curatorial file, "This picture ... was purchased by us from Mme. d'Angely, an elderly lady of Paris, who obtained it directly from Manet." A note attached to this specifies that Mme. d'Angely was the married name of Marguerite de Conflans, whom Manet painted several times.  The provenance (from 1914 to 1922) was provided in a letter from Sophie Pietri, Wildenstein Institute, Paris, to the MFA (December 22, 1999).
Bequest of John T. Spaulding