Edouard Manet was born in Paris in 1832. For over twenty years Manet sought academic and public acceptance at the annual Paris Salon for his original, brilliant, and enigmatic canvases. Because of the furor that his works created at the Salons, he became the first major artist in whose career both the journalists and the general public played vital roles. Although the Impressionists --sometimes called "la bande De Manet" respected Manet he never exhibited with them or painted a truly Impressionist work. Nevertheless, his paintings of the early 1870s do seem influenced by Impressionism, or perhaps by Berthe Morisot, who had become his pupil in 1868, was later his model, and in 1874 became his sister-in-law.
Manet was 26 when he first submitted to the Salon his Absinthe Drinker (1858-9), a cloaked, top-hatted bohemian figure. The Salon of 1859 rejected the work. In 1861, however, his large Spanish Singer was accepted, given an honorable mention, and widely acclaimed. An admirer stated that the painting represented a stand between Realism and Romanticism. Manet worked throughout 1862 and began the year of 1863 by showing 14 canvases at a dealer's art gallery and sending three major works to the Salon. All three were rejected. But that year artists were allowed to show their rejected work separately at the "Salon des Refuses." There, Manet's large composition, Le Dejeuner sur 'Herbe, on which women are shown undressed beside clothed men in a wood, created a scandal. From that time on, Manet's paintings were the focus of popular attention.