A dog painting by the great French modernist artist Édouard Manet, not seen in public in the nearly 150 years since its creation, is headed for auction. "It is not one of his chefs-d'œuvre [masterpieces] but it a marvelous interpretation of Manet's skill; a wonderful symphony of tufts and touches that show his pure genius," art expert Frédérick Chanoit tells the Guardian. Manet painted the pet dog in 1879 as a gift for Marguerite Lathuille; he painted her portrait around the same time. Chanoit says the painting was completed in 20 minutes. "The fact that in a short amount of time and brushstrokes, with minimum of means he could produce this picture of a little dog, that is a ball of fur but full of movement with living eyes is extraordinary," he adds.
Letters show an art dealer urged Lathuille to sell the painting, one of eight dog portraits Manet completed from 1875 to 1883, in the 1920s. Lathuille—whose griffon was named Minnay, which is also the painting's name—refused, as did her children later, the Guardian reports. Manet had a connection to the family, having also painted Lathuille’s brother, Louis. The painter was a frequent visitor to the Paris cabaret owned by their father, Gauthier. And that building also features in some of Manet's paintings, including Chez le Père Lathuille. With the family finally ready to sell, the painting, measuring roughly 12 by 10 inches, will be auctioned in Paris on Feb. 26 by Drouot Estimations. The auctioneer predicts a selling price between $338,000 and $430,000, reports La Presse. (Read more art stories.)