GM: Memories of George Moore

GM: Memories of George Moore

GM: Memories of George Moore

GM: Memories of George Moore

Excerpt

Not long ago there came into my possession a beautiful painting, which for many years belonged to George Moore: Edouard Manet's Étude pour 'Le Linge'. It is a study for the figure in one of his most famous pictures, a portrait of the same matronly young woman at her washing by a wooden bucket, a child holding on to the edge of it: such is Le Linge. No link between the two works can exist save that Manet must have made the Étude so as to learn more about his model's face before starting on the radiant garden-scene with the woman and child amid the flowers of high summer. Indubitably it is the same woman's face: 'Modèle, Alice Lecouvey, tante de la petite Lecouvey, de l'Opéra', says a faded note stuck on the back.

Set slender flowering branches of March next to the painting, as in that pale drawing-room in the Midlands, at Pertenhall, where it stood for a time -- cornelian cherry, pussy-willow and Japanese quince -- note how they blend and converse with the blue-green-grey brush- strokes at the bottom of the portrait. Then see this nude, unfinished torso, with tip-tilted nose and round, bright eyes, surmounted by a fringe with a great twist of hair rolled high atop the head, next to a sheaf of French flowers -- willow-herb and meadow-sweet from the stream's edge. And again later, with other neighbours -- hips and haws and spiralling briony curled round its fire.

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