Today I’m thinking of the black necklaces Manet often painted women wearing. Maybe many women did wear chokers. But I think Manet painted black ribbon necklaces in so many of his portraits because the strip of black against skin added something essential to his compositions—and just because he liked the way it looked. He made black chokers […]

Olympia, cette fille de nos jours, que vous rencontrez sur les trottoirs et qui serre ses maigres épaules dans un mince châle de laine déteinte.
 
~ Émile Zola

Victorine Meurent was born on February 18, 1844, not far from Canal Saint-Martin. She started posing for Manet when she was a teenager, and was his “modèle de predilection” for thirteen years. She became an artist and exhibited at 1876 Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. She’s the first-person narrator and star of my novel, […]