Edouard Manet (1832-1883) is considered the father of modern art and his controversial works would inspire a group that he would never consider himself a part of, the Impressionists. This painting is entitled, The Balcony, and is a favorite of mine. It can be found at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The figures in the piece were all close acquaintances of Manet, notably the great painter Berthe Morisot who is in the front. Morisot would enjoy a close friendship with Manet and later marry his brother.
This painting was so avant-garde because it does not tell a story and the artist took significant liberties with realism and tradition. It gives the reader a charming peak into the lives of these fashionable individuals. I love to envision what they are watching- is it a parade or merely the river flowing by? What have they been doing or where are they about to go? Notice the playful puppy at Morisot's feet and the beautiful blooming peonies in the blue and white container, the details make the painting come alive. For me, it is a painting that gives the viewer an opportunity to paint the rest of the scene.
*Image from museed'orsay.fr