Still Life with Carp, 1864 by Edouard Manet

After the sea, its creatures. This still life, in which you can smell an odor of brine and seaweed, is one of Manet's finest. It is painted with a bold, masterful touch. The artist has rendered perfectly the belly and silver scales of the fish with its reddish head, and it is quite recognizably a mullet and not a carp. Beside it, the red gurnet gives a touch of brighter red. The oysters add a note of freshness, and the lemon, Manet's favorite fruit, stands out with a burst of brilliance against his grays and blacks.

The whole composition is seen against a somber background of bluish tints. The cloth recalls the cold tones of Olympia.

Of the execution of this still life, exhibited with others at the Martinet and Cadart galleries, Theophile Thore wrote in Le Constitutionnel of May 16, 1865, "Certain works by M. Manet, such as the still-life compositions in which he scatters fruit and fish on a dazzling white cloth, are of a high pictorial quality."