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A little. A A. A A A. Rum ORTF. We present the story of a masterpiece another in a series of programmes recounting the historical background of world famous artistic masterpieces. Today at one Monday paints is only the. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you die this is the attitude you would have felt in Persians if you had visited their beautiful city in the year 1863.
For it was a pre-war period and they were afraid. Inevitably there would be bloodshed in the autumn of that year. A young painter named Edward Mani painted a picture which was the cause one of the greatest scandals in the history of art. The painting was called Olympia. Man I was 31 years old at the time. He had a beard and thin blond hair which according to Stefan Bellamy was going grey with Spirit keen and intelligent eyes and he gave an impression of finesse and energy. One day in studio money had been experimenting with various shades of
white. He was pacing up and down and found I can't do it. What's wrong with me. Who's that. Come in and shut the door to what's cold out there. Sorry I mean my child. What could I do for you. Yes that's me. But sit down my dear. You're frozen. What's your name on this you. I'm a model and I need one. Posh children such marvellous. Should I come back later in this year. Oh good lord no sit down again my dear. You're a model Victoria. Yes miss. Would you like to pose for me. Oh yes. Then pose you shall my dear and you shall start this very afternoon. But first let me get you some hot soup to warm your blood. And that was how Monday found his Olympia. Victor I know how it was a strange delicate nervous with graceful and slender limbs despite
hard times she was glad to be alive and in love with love. She was simple and kind. She posed for money. It was probably the poet and sculptors I carry a story of who gave man is painting the name Olympia when it was hung in the salon two years later. He had written a poem in a faults but a Larry and style. And its first five lines were engraved on the frame of the painting. When dreams are over and Olympia wakes. Then springtime greets the sweet black messenger. Behold the slave of amorous Knight. Comes forth to see the daylight bloom. The majestic girl. In whom passion dwells. In
1865 the Olympia was admitted to the cell long people of all classes were seen there rubbing elbows with the great painters. The South Lawn was practically sacred but not for money. From the start he was obliged to disband his Olympia against ready CULE and abuse. I. See it's the most outrageous grotesque filthy pig house. But looking at how hard this is all this looks like a group. Oh my dear. It's all Mikel. Well you mean in the end how did you like to see him idea. Tell me have you seen the Olympia isn't she staring wide open that he smacked them and
it hurts me to hear you say so. This canvas is the bit of flesh and blood of the painter. Believe me it will hang in the Louvre one day. What other authors did not agree with us although they are fairly good added his bit to the already abundant criticism.
Some say it is enough to pass by the Olympian laugh. What a mystic. The ceremony is not to be sneered at. He has developed a new school of thought complete with admirers and even fanatics. His influence spreads farther than you think. There is no way to explain Olympia. Even if you take her simply for what she is sickly model line on a sheet. The flesh tones are dirty and the model herself is worthless. The shading is indicated by rather large portions of black. But how does money justify the negress who is holding a bouquet of flowers and a piece of paper. Or the black cat was left its dirty park prints on a bed. We might excuse ugliness if it were truthful. Or studied or believed in some way by a splendid color effect. But in this case unfortunately we sense that the artist is only seeking to attract attention. And at any cost. Monday was deeply hurt by all this derision.
Still he did have allies and friends one of whom was booed in there. It was the 11th of me 1865 Charles I don't know how much more I can take. It's strange how Republicans turn reactionary when they talk of art. I just got my friend don't be discouraged. Let me show you a real worth. First of all you're asking too much. You're not the first man ever to be mocked and ridiculed. No no no good you think you're a great a genius and say shut the bloody all about me. Oh of course not listen to me. They were ridiculed as much as you and yet they survived. But still these men the Pentagons each in his own field whether as you hear only the first to break away from the the present decrepitude of your art don't mind my being hard on you Ed wow. You know it's only out of my deep friendship for you. I know Charles and I appreciate it deeply. Two weeks later the gallery shifted the Olympio to a position high up on the wall
on most touching the ceiling. Yet the crowd still thronged to see it. Well. It's tough to see though that you know you're there. All right. Because Mike there were. A. Lot of Money never lived. I don't suppose you were wrong about it. See the idea. Yes I live in MO. Yes live in MO. Let me see it. Yes here it is for the love. And now a days we should buy him. So let us laugh at machine money today for tomorrow our children will be in ecstasies when they see his his canvasses. Live and then to publish that. Don't they have any consideration for their re does what I do. I'm canceling my
subscription today today. The author of this article was a mere Zala. He wrote another one but it created such a scandal that he had to stop. However I would not give up what he believed firmly in my name. Let us eavesdrop for a moment as own on expounds his ideas to a friend. These ideas he would publish later on January 1st 1867 under the title a new way of painting and wire money and then in 1865 and then they exhibited this masterpiece Limpia a masterpiece. I said masterpiece and I meant exactly that. But how can you explain for me this canvas is the flesh and blood of the painter. It isn't that being and it is his alone. It is characteristic of his talent the highpoint of his great power. If you stop to analyze man his temperament you will find that all His works are contained in this one.
Well I'd certainly like to have another look at you like that only and yet perhaps not understand what you're talking about then. Would you join me at the Cellar learning the greatest of pleasure and I should explain her to you indeed. There you are at last had a look at the Olympia. I'm sorry to be so late doesn't matter. I've had time to contemplate. You know some people would probably call this painting a cartoon. What do you mean exactly. Well
Olympia lying on white sheets forms a big bare spot on the black background within this background. We can barely discern the head of the negro was holding a bouquet of flowers and the famous black cat that made the public laugh so much. Hence at first sight we only see two tones which are in violent contrast with each other. Details have disappeared. Look at the girl's head the lips are too thin pink lines and the eyes are reduced to a few black lines. Yeah it's true. Now look closely at the bouquet of flowers. You see pink patches blue patches green patches it's all white simplified way yes. Then if you want to reconstruct reality just step back a few paces. And then something strange happens. Everything fits into place. Olympia's head stands out against the background with surprising contrast and the bouquet becomes a marvelous burst of color. It's amazing how do you explain it where this miracle comes from man is
the simplicity of his touch his work his nature works with bright masses large patches of light and the result is like nature rough and yes this is fascinating. Please go on. Let's look at the bed for a moment. Nothing is more explicitly delicate than the basic tones of the various whites of the sheets Olympia is lying on Monday has overcome an enormous difficulty in the juxtaposition of those whites and the girls but there is also that in charming shades. Who was she do you know. Just a young girl probably a model but my neck covered her perfectly and so everyone screamed well because we found the body indecent. Naturally it was bare flesh that young and already a withered flesh of a girl whom the artist had thrown to his canvas. He taught us to know Limpia know yeah. Yes she is that familiar girl you meet on the street every day with her scrawny shoulders wrapped in
faded troll. Yes I do see what you mean she is universal. After I think of it I know several like it. As usual the public to not to understand what the artist was after some looked for a philosophical meaning in the Olympia while others more shameless maintain that it was obscene. I mean you've made this painting come alive for me. I never forget today. Don't look now but that man over there in the doorway is how many he spotted us. You you do are such a joy to see you here. How do you do man was it. I'm on a mission and he has simply misused the lies been telling me how stupid the public has been Yeah and it's so discouraging nonsense there than there must that you are not what they think you are that the painting is for you. An analysis you needed the woman you chose Olympiad the first you came upon. You needed bright and luminous splashes you put in a bouquet. You need the dark areas
and so you place the knickers on the black cat in one corner. What does all that mean. Well you don't know and neither do I but I do know is that you have succeeded in creating a work about the great work of art in your own special way. You have transposed light and shadow onto canvas. Truthfully you have depicted creatures realistically. Yes. The universal exhibition was held in the same year that Emile Zola as article was published in
1867. There were 11 million visitors in all. They came from all over Europe. And among them numbered many sovereigns. The Emperor of Russia the King of Prussia the Emperor of Austria. The Sultan. The King of Belgium. The king of Portugal. The King of Sweden. And the Prince of Wales. What was subsidies added to the large takings the total gain was considerable. Thank.
God. The exhibition was a brilliant success in the center of the Shonda mass a special pavilion had been erected two half circles were connected to a rectangle and each of the four sides of this rectangle were flanked by an enormous door. Ever since 1861 had one man a had exhibited his paintings or at least tried to. But it was not always easy to deal with art galleries. So this year it decided to show his complete works directly to the public. Let us listen as he walks through his private pavilion near the plaster lot in MA. He is accompanied by his oldest friend who since their meeting at the South Lawn and become one of mine is most devoted admirers. My friend I have spent over four million francs to show my works privately. Now it's not just that. Yes and it's well worth it. Exhibiting is vital to the artist. It means finding friends and allies to help him in a struggle.
You see today the artist no longer says Come and see my perfect work but rather come and see my sincere work. Yes yes I understand. How many paintings have you here. 25 in all. What is that the Olympia. OK look over there. Olympia is housed in her own private loo. It cost 50 song teams to get here. Yet money became once more a subject of ridicule. Husbands took their wives across the bridge paid their 50 son teams and left. Toward the middle of summer. Money went to the seaside with his family. He hated to open his mail there for fear of the news it might bring of his exhibition. On September 1st he received word of God Loes death so he returned to Paris for the poet's funeral. Why was declared in 1870 and my name listed in the national artillery.
He was a lieutenant under the famous War Artist Colonel my son yet. Soon after leaving home. My knee began to worry about what would become of his paintings. So he wrote to his friend. They adored me. Why did you play. I am having set to use the following paintings which you will please be kind enough to hide during this siege. Olympia luncheon the guitar player in the balcony child with Saud allowed to follow us moonlight. The reader the rabbit still life Spanish at attainder. Fruit and Matt must be a car Julie. Money. Yes. P.S. If I happen to be killed you may keep either moonlight or the reader are if you prefer ask my wife child blowing
bubbles and doing a wrote back. My dear Monday since nobody knows these days who is alive or dead I am sending you the following declaration which might be of use to you. The paintings by Edward Monday which have been left in my house are the property of Monsieur manee the only two that belong to me on my portrait and the bowing Toreador I purchased the latter from him plus some of 1200 francs which still remain to do that troop and which I shall pay as soon as I am able. Greetings to you. God.
Was. Was. Following this correspondence. Some of the most famous and valuable paintings in the world were transported during the siege of Paris in a simple handwritten cut. From the painter's home to the home of dado and you'll hear. My name home from the war on higher. Planes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. In 1874 the photographer and I opened an exhibition which included Manny's painting called impression of the Rising Sun in derision. The journalist of the war called the money an impressionist. He is still called that today. But let us return to Manny's Olympia. Did
he even try to sell it one day. Well came to see him. I would like to buy your Olympia lemonade. Please sell it to me. I think it's a masterpiece. I think so too my dear. So how could I bear to part with it. I'll be happy to lend it out for exhibitions but you mustn't ask more of me how much how much do you think it's worth. At least twenty thousand francs. And so money kept his Olympian at home all his life. The public refused to see what a great painter he was. But he could prove it to himself when he looked at his Olympia. You know Tober 879 Manet had his first attack of the illness which would eventually cause his death called a taxi and it was a muscular disorder considered to be a type of rheumatism. During the next four years he continued to paint. But the attacks became more and more frequent. Finally the only solution left to the doctors was to amputate one leg.
But the patient was in such a weak condition that the operation failed. Edouard Manny breathed his last. On April 7th 1893 he was 52 years old. Suddenly those who had attacked him formally turned about a face to deplore this irreparable loss to the arts. Manet's paintings were put up for sale after his death. But madam Monday withdrew the Olympia and kept it in 1888. Finding herself desperately in need of money she thought of selling it to an American dealer. But when the painter Claude Monet heard of this he went to see the widow. Forgive me but I will not allow you to sell it here but miss you I miss you
no matter. The Olympiad belongs to the public and here is my. I should create a fund. And with the money I collect I will buy the Olympia from you and offer it to the Louvre Museum this year what do you think that yes May. I. Promise. And so on long correspondence began between Claude money and various politicians artists and friends Toulouse-Lautrec gave twenty four francs for toilet door gave twenty five francs fifty francs.
The annual shall be a one hundred francs saying the loveliest girl in the world can only give what she has at the end of the month. I am ugly I mean as all a man is staunch defender. Surprise money with the following reply. I'm very sorry but I cannot donate to your fund. It is a principle of mine never to buy paintings not even for the Louvre. I can understand art collectors who joined forces in order to raise the price of paintings but I have never promised myself never to get mixed up in that sort of affair. I have long defended my name and writing that is enough. He will go to the Louvre but he must go there on his own with the full national recognition of his talent and not in this roundabout way which smells of publicity and snobbishness two years later. Claude Monet visited Madame money. He had nineteen thousand four hundred fifteen francs. I have not been able to raise twenty
thousand. The sum that many thought the printing was with. Never mind this year. You have been very kind. I know it hasn't been easy. No. What will you do now then I see everyone in Paris. If necessary in order to keep my promise to you Olympia will hang in the roof and so clothed morning began his negotiations. They were long and painful when the commission of national museums met it delivered this discouraging decision. The commission of national museum is meeting in full session except the Olympia father example ballasts for example. BAUCUS however said the commission specifies that it is under no obligation to transfer the painting to the Louvre Museum later on no obligation. Confound it I'm going to. The president. Oh yes I know his painting and just fund perhaps his right to be obstinate showman. Mr. K. Marshall Yes miss Your Money Your painting will go to the Louvre if you
will permit them as your president I am not here on my own behalf but rather on behalf of Mr. Edward. My name and they spin things called The only. Yes I understand my friend but your work will also go to the law but in the meantime I shall order the curator of the museum to hang the Olympia in the south they said and so thanks to Claude Monet is persistent and while money's Olympio was hung in the Louvre it was placed opposite the Middle East by an at last it had found its true home. You've been listening to the story of a masterpiece today at one paints is Olympia. With Lyle Joyce in the title role and with Simone Sternberg Martinville Ziska Baum and her narrator Bruce Johansen. This program was written by Patricia Kuhl both translated into English by day account and directed by Pierre
Cristiana. It came to you transcribed from ORTF the French broadcasting system in Paris. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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The story of a masterpiece
Edouard Manet: Olympia
Producing Organization
French Cultural Services
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3409. This prog.: Edouard Manet: Olympia
Fine Arts
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Producing Organization: French Cultural Services
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-22-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:53
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Chicago: “The story of a masterpiece; Edouard Manet: Olympia,” 1968-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “The story of a masterpiece; Edouard Manet: Olympia.” 1968-07-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: The story of a masterpiece; Edouard Manet: Olympia. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from