"had some things in common with his portrait of Zola"

 Émile François Zola (1840 - 1902), was a French writer, of the literary schools of naturalism and theatrical naturalism. He is also responsible for the popularity, in the English-speaking world, of the phrase J'accuse! as an expression of accusation and outrage against a powerful person suspected of wrongdoing.

Manet's portait of Zola, painted in 1868, now resides at the Musée d'Orsay, in Paris, France.

For more information on Zola, see The Émile Zola Society.