A King Charles Spaniel. The small dog at the feet of Berthe Morisot in The Balcony is a King Charles Spaniel. An identical dog appears in two more of Manet's paintings. In A King Charles Spaniel (1866), Manet paints a portrait of this spaniel with the identical detail of a striped ball. In Gare Saint-Lazare (1873), a King Charles puppy rests on the lap of the woman. Édouard Manet. 1866. National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C. The Balcony. Édouard Manet. 1872. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France. Art historians credit Francisco Goya's Majas on a Balcony (1808-12) as the inspiration for Manet's The Balcony.
Black is not a color. Édouard Manet (1832-83)
The Balcony is the first painting in which Berthe Morisot sat for Manet. The other three people in the composition are Antoine Guillemet, a landscape painter; Fanny Claus, a violinist; and, in the shadows of the background, his son Leon Leenhoff.
Manet was married to Suzanne Leenhoff, a Dutch musician two years his senior. He met her when August Manet, his father, hired her to give his sons piano lessons. It is likely that she was the senior Manet's mistress.
Leon Leenhoff was born in 1853 and whether August or Édouard was his father is unknown. From 1853-63, Édouard Manet had a romantic relationship with Leenhoff but it was only after his father's death that he would marry her.