Édouard Manet

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)

X-ray of A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Far from being quickly and spontaneously painted, the composition was the result of careful preparatory studies. However, that is not to say that Manet did not make changes as he painted. In an x-ray of the final canvas, we can see that Manet initially painted the barmaid with her arms crossed across her waist, her right hand clasping her left arm above the wrist. This gesture emphasised her glovelessness, but is also one of protection. The woman in the background looking through opera glasses was a late addition.