Grey Room

The Manufacturer’s Signature: Trademarks and Other Signs of Authenticity on Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Noam M. Elcott

Édouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882. Oil on canvas. 96 × 130 cm. Courtauld Gallery, London.


With this shift in perspective, I hope to seize the unfolding transformation of tangible things into intangible signs that undergirded both high capitalism and high modernism and that are the true subjects of Manet’s last big painting.6 As much as the bottles and their labels were designed and painted to be grasped instantaneously, we will have to approach them with the utmost fastidiousness and care. For they are not only forms meticulously painted on a canvas. They are also paradigmatic nodes in the ascendant global economy.