The Waitress Bocks
Like the contemporaries, Manet frequently went to the cafes around his district, whether they were fine or ordinary. These places gave him the creative inspiration of some paintings. He was regular visitor of Hertz Lufen cafe ballroom at the foot of Paris Montmartre and made some sketches showing the customers and performance scene in the cafe. Then, he painted a big painting in the studio. Because he was not satisfied with the painting, so he divided it into two pieces. He made the same theme on another piece of cloth, which was the painting in Orsay museum. The painting also suffered from the same fate, with three edges being cut and only the right side being kept in one's integrity. In order to show the packed, smoky and noisy cafe, the painter made the characters in the painting closer to each other. There were mainly five categories: a waitress, a worker dressed in a blue coat, a bourgeois who people only saw his top hat, a woman, and a female singer.
Their faces were deliberately amputated some part, aiming to give people a kind of impression that this was a fast lens photographs or natural glimpse of arbitrary truncation space. There was only a half of the female singer's body. Even for other impressionist painters, especially Degas also used this technique, which still made people feel weird. In addition to the waitress looking at the audience, other people's eyes turned on the translucent silhouette clearly appearing in the arena. The painter arranged the painting space through the eyes of characters in order to form an opposite relationship between the foreground and background. The figures in the painting were like to be flattened. But the waitress's face, beer cup, pipe, black hat, and branching chandelier were clearly visible throughout a bit hazy composition. In order to activate the atmosphere in the coffee dance hall and the dazzling light, Manet adopted a fast and powerful impressionist style with parallel or cross style coloring, which would not leave any outline border.
This painting was a special witness of Manet's paintings performing modern life scenes. Degas and Renoir mainly portrayed such scenes.