From 1866, Emile Zola, who was going to become his friend, will defend Manet' cause in "the Event" as well as the new artistic school which he names "Naturalism".
During the second half of the 1860’s, Manet became the most respected painter of a group of artists, writers and art lovers, who met at the "Café Guerbois", in the street of Batignolles.
If the young painters who were going to be the core of Impressionism, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne, underwent the influence of Manet, those were in return to influence his art, making it more sensitive to light and colour effects. Édouard Manet was still to paint several masterpieces in this decade, such as "The fifre" (1866), "The reading" (1865-73), "The rest" (1870).
In 1874, the artist chooses not to take part to the first Impressionist show. He continued to exhibit regularly at the Salon where his notoriety did not cease to grow.
In 1877, Manet was again to cause criticisms with "Nana", a representation of a young woman, in underskirts and blouse, powdering herself in the presence of a man who awaits her, which will be refused at the Salon.
Manet will tardily gain some official recognition to which he had aspired: he will become in 1881 one "out of contest" of the Salon by obtaining a medal with "The portrait of Mr. Pertuisait", and will be made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, on proposal of his friend A. Proust, who had become Minister for the Arts.
In 1882, he was present for the last time at the Salon with "A bar at the Folies-Bergères" (Courtauld Institute Galleries, London), one of his most brilliant and famous work. He died in Paris on April 30, 1883, leaving an important work, including more than four hundred oil paints, many pastels and watercolours. "One must be of one's time and paint what one sees." Édouard Manet.