“MANET, MONET AND THE MINUET”

The bohemian Green Fairy was very playful and she loved to create confusion among the artists who were under her influence. In his memoirs, Marcel Rochechouart recounts several curious episodes in this regard. It seems that the Green Fairy drove Manet and Monet nuts taking advantage of the similarity of their names. When the two painters were present in any of the places where the bohème met, there was often a psychophony consisting of the suggestive pronunciation of one of their names. I say “one of their names” because the psychophony was ambiguous enough for both to feel alluded to, and as a result they both rushed to meet the owner of that sexy female voice that called them. Of course, the voice lacked an owner or at least it was an invisible one. However, they never stopped falling into the trap, which motivated the funny comments of their colleagues, all of whom had a very strong sense of humor and did not mind laughing even at themselves. This enviable sense of humor was also shared by Manet and Monet. However, as the Green Fairy’s joke was reiterated again and again and it became obvious that, as if it were a siren song, both of them were unable to resist her call, they stopped being amused about it and the situation became annoying. Following Monet and Manet’s angry reaction to a funny Degas remark (Monet grabbed him by the hair while Manet made him swallow a whole tube of turquoise blue paint, which caused Degas feces to be turquoise blue for some months, which alarmed his doctor in the extreme), their friends tried to stifle laughter on such occasions. This motivated the bohemians to judge that it was time to cut short the Green Fairy’s joke and, at Sisley’s suggestion, they agreed on the way to carry it out. One evening, when they were all having dinner at the “Belle Gabrielle”, suddenly it was heard as usual the suggestive voice of the Green Fairy calling Monet or Manet. Immediately both stood up ready to run in the direction of the voice, but suddenly stopped when Sisley exclaimed that it was not “Monet” or “Manet” what the voice said but “Minuet”. For a minute there was absolute silence while Monet and Manet mentally processed what they had just heard from Sisley. He insisted that he had an excellent hearing and what the voice said was clearly “Minuet”. Monet and Manet looked at each other with astonishment and, letting out a sigh of relief, they started dancing a minuet amidst the laughter of everyone present.


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