Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints



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About the Artwork

A celebrity in her day, Émilie Ambre (1854-1898) came from a wealthy North African family and was the mistress of King William III of the Netherlands prior to pursuing a career as an opera singer. Manet met Ambre in the summer of 1879 at a spa outside Paris where he was seeking treatment for a reoccurring leg ailment. In Manet's portrait, the singer appears in Spanish costume as Carmen, the tragic gypsy heroine of Georges Bizet's opera. A popular story set in Seville, and filled with bullfighters, smugglers, and dancers, Carmen was nevertheless controversial because its heroine was not a pure or chaste woman but one who led her unsuspecting lover into a life of crime and was murdered by him. With her dark features and celebrated past, Ambre was well suited for the part of Carmen, a role she played on tours in the United States in 1879 and 1880. The harsh side lighting in the portrait suggests the stage, although the painting, with its plain background, does not illustrate an identifiable moment in the opera. Ambre's clothing and the fan in her left hand are rapidly sketched in broad, assured brushstrokes that signal Manet's own bravura performance. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 52

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About Our Prints

Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.
You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Custom Prints store. Simply enter your Member ID during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.