A Bar at the Folies Bergere is a famous oil painting by the French artist Édouard Manet, completed in 1882. The painting portrays a bar maid in the famous Folies Bergere theatre in Paris, surrounded by various patrons. It is considered one of the most important works in the history of Impressionism, and is a cornerstone of Manet's career.
Manet had a long and successful career as an artist in France, but it was this painting that gained him international fame. Manet completed the painting between 1881 and 1882, and he said of the work "I've done something rather special here." The subject of the painting was a young barmaid, Suzon, in the Folies Bergere. Manet had a special connection to the Folies Bergere - it was where his father had worked between 1858 and 1868.
The painting initially caused an uproar due to its resemblance to traditional academic paintings, which were very popular at the time. Critics were also appalled at the depiction of a working class woman in the middle of a bar surrounded by well-dressed gentlemen. It was seen by some as a criticism of the French social system and the bourgeoisie. In spite of this, it was eventually accepted by the art establishment, and it was later described by the art critic Charles Baudelaire as "a slice of real life observed in a state of nature".
Manet's painting entered the collections of the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1883, only one year after its completion. Since then, it has become one of the most beloved and well-known works of Impressionism. Manet's painting continues to be a beacon of French art, and it has been a source of inspiration for many painters. Its influence can still be seen in contemporary works.