LAURA’s gang revolves around Olympia, an 1863 painting by Edouard Manet. The scandal it sparked at the 1865 Paris Salon is well known, but art history has focused predominantly on describing the recumbent figure in the foreground, rarely acknowledging the one behind the bed holding a bouquet of flowers – a certain “Laure”, who lived at 11 rue de Vintimille, close to Place de Clichy and a 26-minute walk from Manet’s studio at 81 Rue Guyot in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. Indeed, more research has been devoted to the white woman’s confrontational gaze than to the black woman’s bearing. Even the cat and the flowers have inspired more reflections.
With LAURA’s gang, it’s time to turn the tables.Cover Photo: LAURE