The comment in the first quote about manet suffering from hanging next to mr. velasquez was spot on. I was at that show with Carl Dobsky a few years ago and the room was absolutely packed. There was a large velasquez portrait hanging right next to one of manets better works. I said to the crowd "are the rest of you thinking what I am thinking...is it just me or does that velasquez makes manet look completely insensitive and clumsy?"
The room gasped. People gasped. I insulted Manet. hahaha. One rather stodgy old woman looked at me and said "it's just you". I responded by telling her "open your eyes people...look at the faces...look at velasquez...what eloquence...now look at the manet...jeez...not even close to the same level of artistry and soul".
I had a good laugh...but i do not think many saw what Carl and I saw by comparing manets mud with velasquez deft works.
The art world has many levels of taste...some people think great work tastes like crap...others think crap tastes great. no need to argue over it...but it was still fun to point it out to the crowd of gawkers who were more into the manet than the velasquez. After all, without velasquez, there would be no sargent (as they exist)...and definitely no manet.
The works showing where manet stole one of his compositions from was particularly nice to see at that exhibit.