Suffering from the complications of syphilis toward the end of his life, Édouard Manet begins to jot down his daily impressions, reflections, and memories in a notebook. He travels for healing respites in the French countryside and finds inspiration in nature—a cloud of dragonflies, peonies blanketed by the morning dew. Back in Paris, the artist holds court in his studio and meets a mysterious muse, Suzon. Entranced by Suzon’s cool blue eyes, he decides to paint his final masterpiece, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, life-sized—and wagers his health to complete it. In a sensual portrait of Manet’s last years, illustrated with his own sketches, Maureen Gibbon offers a vibrant testament to the endurance of the artistic spirit.
Set in the richly drawn art world of nineteenth-century Paris, this stunning historical novel imagines Édouard Manet’s last days in an indelible snapshot of genius, illness, and the dying embers of passion.