R i c h a r d   R e i d    







1980 - 1989



Déjeuner sur l'herbe (after Manet)
56 x 76 cm





#89 141



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 I made this painting as a 'loose' interpretation of the Edouard Manet painting Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, 1863,  oil on canvas, H. 2.080 ; B. 2.645 m. Paris, Musée d'Orsay.
I'm not sure when I first saw an image of Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l‘herbe, (Luncheon on the Grass), but I suspect that it was brought up during an Art History course when I first began studying art. I don't think it made a great immediate impression, but some time later, my fascination with the painting began to develop, probably as a result of seeing its relationship to my own work.  Perhaps it is the ambiguity and enigmatic quality that attracts me.  I recall doing a few small sketches which I used as compositional guides to paintings such as Landscape with a People Tree and Velvet Bedspread.  Although these paintings have no direct resemblance to the Manet painting, the original sketches seemed to bear that derivation.

In 1967, I made a fairly large painting
Le Déjeuner (link) For many years, it was kept in the storage racks — I considered it unfinished. When it was 'dug out' in 2006 as I was preparing for my "Inside Passage" exhibition, I realized that the painting was in fact, not at all unfinished.  I was able to see it in the context of the related work done since that time.

I made a few etchings in the 1970’s which are also vaguely similar. For example, see Lovers in the Trees.

It seems as though the fascination with the 1863 Manet painting has been with me for a long time, and recognizing this, I did a couple of watercolour paintings, which were more or less ‘copies’ of Manet's “Le Déjeuner sur l‘herbe”.  And over the years, I have revisited the subject frequently.  On and off between 1986 and 1989, for example, a series of about 15 acrylic paintings on canvas were completed. Several of the On the Grass series works are in the Inside Passage (2006) exhibition.

These paintings are quite abstract and probably allude as much to landscape as to figures. While I developed these paintings from a loosely derived use of Manet’s compositional structure, the viewer may be hard-pressed to see the connection.  It is unimportant to me whether or not the viewer does so; it is merely of interest that it came about in this way.  I continue to find fascination, curiosity and inspiration with this enigmatic Manet painting.

There are 14 paintings done in 1986 to 1989 in this series. They are not numbered in chronological order.
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