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On the refrigerator in Brenda and Dean Babcock’s home was a sticker reminding them of the Manet exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art.
It was there for months, they said, reminding them that they had until Jan. 1 to take in the 40-piece portrait exhibit of work by acclaimed French artist Edouard Manet, sometimes referred to as “the father of Impressionism.”
Tuesday, the Weston, Ohio, couple finally made it to the museum after some “procrastinating,” Mrs. Babcock said.
“It was truly amazing,” she said about the exhibit. “More than I expected.”
By the time the museum closed Tuesday, thousands of people had gone through the exhibition, which opened to the public Oct. 7. A final count of viewers was unavailable.
Sandra Wise had hoped to see the exhibition with her children and husband — every year during the holiday season, they come to the museum or see a movie. There’s also dinner at the Beirut on Monroe Street.
This year, Mrs. Wise’s children, who live in Columbus, couldn’t make it, and her husband was at home, in Fremont, watching football (She even stopped to ask, “Did [the University of] Georgia win?” It did).
Seeing the exhibit alone allowed her to take her time. Using the audio tour, she went to some of the displays twice to pick up on information she missed.
“It’s incredible. Incredible, incredible, incredible,” Mrs. Wise said. “I cannot say enough about it.”
That is the kind of reaction Larry Nichols was hoping for when he started planning for the exhibition in 2007.
Tuesday was the last day for viewing the exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art, the exclusive North American venue for Manet: Portraying Life. Anyone who wants to see it at its next stop will have to buy a plane ticket to London and plan a trip before April. The show, co-organized by the Toledo Museum of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, is headed there next. Mr. Nichols will be there for the opening on Jan. 22.
Mr. Nichols, the Toledo Museum of Art’s William Hutton senior curator of European and American painting and sculpture before 1900, described the exhibition as “internationally important.”
The argument for the show, he said, was to combine straight portraits — think a posed straight-on painting of a person — and more candid-looking portraits (paintings in which the subjects are still known, but are posing to appear as though they were not posing).
To illustrate, the museum put next to one another two specific paintings: Portrait of Antonini Proust, which is owned by the Toledo Museum of Art, and Chez le Pere Lathuille en Plein Air, owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Tournai, Belgium.
Those two paintings hung next to one another at an exhibition in London in 1880. Twice since they had been featured in the same exhibition, but never again on the same wall, until the pieces were reunited in Toledo.
“It’s going to be sad to see it go,” Mr. Nichols said about the exhibit.