Edouard Manet : Pastels. By John Rewald. (Bruno Cassirer :
Faber and Faber. 10s. 6d.)
MANET liked to point out that he had been recording modern Paris when Degas was still painting history under the influence of Ingres. His pioneering was, however, rarely independent of pictorial precedent, and in the pastels to which he turned in the last five years of his life, a large number of which are reproduced in this book, together with a number of pen drawings, etchings and brush drawings on canvas, none of which is indexed, the example of Degas was often present in his mind. The Woman in a Tub is clearly connected with the subjects on which Degas was embarking at about the same time, and in the Café there is an evident reminiscence of the pastel by him now in the Louvre dating from three years earlier. Mr. Rewald, more happily occupied here than in setting others to rights, contributes an interesting tett, but does not deal with these issues. He points out that Manet, unlike Degas, used pastel simply as a popular and unexacting substitute for oil paint, and that the change of medium is as often as not invisible in monochrome reproduction. This might be held to throw some doubt on the reason for the present publication's existence, but it is in fact a useful and charm- ing enough addition to a series which is apparently to be devoted to the lesser monuments of the great century of French painting.