The friendship between Manet and Mallarmé went back to 1873 and for almost ten years the two men met every day to discuss painting, literature, and the new aesthetic as well as cats and woman's fashion.
Leaning back on the cushions, the poet has one hand slipped into the pocket of his coat and the other laid on a bundle of papers. He is smoking one of his big cigars, which gives his hand an elegant gesture. The treatment of the vigorously brushed canvas is remarkable. It is a good likeness and the poet seems to be alive as if caught by a candid snapshot.
1876, Musée d'Orsay