A Man Walks into a Bar: The Bar

7:00 AM

John Brack, The Bar, 1954
A Man Walks Into a Bar...

I chose John Brack’s The Bar second because it mocks the Manet. The painting follows his usual style, which includes simple shapes and areas will deliberately drab colors. Unlike the natural beauty behind the bar at the Folies-Bergere, Brack’s bartender is a sickening yellow color, with wrinkles and other marks of aging. She represents the tolls of long-term alcohol consumption on your body, just like DARE taught you. Furthermore, she instigated the men’s drinking buy selling them the alcohol. Unlike the festivities in Manet’s painting, Brack’s bar is filled with men with hats. They appear to be stopping at the bar after work to drown their sorrows. In Manet’s painting, they drink for fun while they dance, but in Brack’s painting, they drink to cope with their misery.

The painting not only satirizes Manet’s piece, but also critics the "six o’clock swill." The Australian painter used his home as an influence for this piece, portraying the last minute rush for people to buy drinks before the bars had to close by law. This law was a part of the rising Temperance movement during World War I. Brack’s ability to mock a famous work while delivering a strong political message to Australian society is important because he helped expand artists abilities to promote and critique governments in art. Since this is one of his most successful pieces, it proves that artists can take a stance on a subject and still remain successful, sometimes even more so than before. Not only is he critiquing Australian society for consumerism and alcoholism, but also the government who put those rules in place.

The painting is dark, except for the mustard-yellow bartender. The darkness of the painting correlates with the idea of coping with the men’s miseries and rushing to drink as much as they can between work ending at five and when the bars close at 6. Due to the role of women at that time, who stayed at home, the men would return from a long day of work, having spent their paycheck on alcohol. This was bad for families, even though it was good for business. The flowers try to bloom and bring happiness to the painting, but the lack of sunlight will lead to their deaths. Alcoholism is toxic.

You Might Also Like