Émile Zola, Cézanne's boyhood friend, showed an early interest in painting. He was particularly interested in the artists rejected by the official critics. In 1866, he wrote an article on Édouard Manet in the newspaper La Revue du XIXe siècle and defended him again the following year when he organized a private exhibition on the fringes of the Universal Exhibition. Zola regarded the artist, who was contested by traditionalists, as one of the masters of the future, whose place was in the Louvre. In 1867, the article was published as a slim brochure with a blue cover, here in full view on the table. To thank him, Manet offered to paint Zola's portrait.
On the wall is a reproduction of Manet's Olympia, a painting that sparked a fierce scandal at the 1865 Salon but which Zola held to be Manet's best work. Behind it is an engraving from Velázquez's Bacchus indicating the taste for Spanish art shared by the painter and the writer. A Japanese print of a wrestler by Utagawa Kuniaki II completes the décor. The Far East, which revolutionized ideas on perspective and color in European painting, played a central role in the advent of the new style of painting. A Japanese screen on the left of the picture recalls this. So ... a lot of art everywhere!
Zola is seated at his worktable. He is holding a book, probably Charles Blanc's L'Histoire des peintres frequently consulted by Manet. An inkwell and a quill on the desk symbolize the writer's occupation.
Why do we present Zola today? I always see this painting when I think about how DailyArt Magazine's writers work while they write articles! On this day in 2016 we launched DailyArt Magazine, which at the beginning was a small blog and extension to the DailyArt app. Now, thanks to the hard work of our editor team and brave writers and proofreaders, every day we publish a couple of new articles about art history and we have become a serious place on the internet to read about art. We hope that DailyArt Magazine is a part of your everyday art flow. :)
P.S. Last year DailyArt Magazine went through massive changes and rebranding. Now it is time to do the same with the DailyArt app; learn how we plan to do it and what kind of support we ask.