Wednesday 2 May 2012

Berthe Morisot - part 1

Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895) was a painter described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt. Morisot was born in Bourges, France in 1841 into a family of wealth and culture. Her father was a high ranking civil servant. She was Fragonard's great-grand daughter.

After moving to Paris with her family, the Berthe received their first instruction in drawing and painting. Morisot received the conventional lessons in drawing and painting. She went firmly against convention, however, in choosing to take these pursuits seriously and make them her life's work. . She took some lessons for a time under Camille Corot.

In July 1868 Fantin-Latour introduced Berthe to Manet, whom she greatly admired. Although Manet was had a strong influence on her work, she soon developed a distinctive style of her own. Her style, in turn, influenced his painting and encouraged him to work en plein air. She appears in The Balcony and a number of later works. Unlike most of the other impressionists, who were then intensely engaged in optical experiments with colour, Morisot and Manet agreed on a more conservative approach, confining their use of colour to a naturalistic framework.

Manet 1868-9 "The Balcony" Berthe Morisot, Antoine Guillemet, Fanny Claus

Morisot married Manet's brother Eugene in December, 1874. Her house at 4 Rue de la Princesse in Bougival then became a social and inspirational centre for the Impressionists. By 1885 she had begun to hold regular soirees for friends that were artists or writers, including Mallarmé.

Morisot exhibited regularly at the Salon, and at all the Impressionist exhibitions except for 1879. Morisot took part in the innovations of the Impressionists from the beginning and she remained faithful up to the last group exhibition in 1886.

In March of 1895, Berthe Morisot died of pneumonia at the age of 54. In her last letter to her daughter, Julie Manet, she bequeathed paintings to Degas, Monet and Renoir. In spite of her international reputation as an artist, her death certificate bears the words "No professions".

This is part 1 of a 6-part post on the works of Berthe Morisot. Parts 1-4 show her oil paintings, parts 5-6 her watercolours and drawings:

1859 Farm in Normandy 
oil on canvas

1863 Old Path at Auvers 
oil on canvas

1864 Study - The Water's Edge 
oil on canvas 60 x 73.4 cm

1865 Thatched Cottage in Normandy 
oil on canvas

1869 The Artist's Sister at a Window 
oil on canvas

1869 The Harbour at Lorient 
oil on canvas 43 x 72 cm

1869 Two Sisters on a Couch 
oil on canvas 52.1 x 81.3 cm

1869-70 Mother and Sister of the Artist 
oil on canvas

1870 Portrait of Edma 
oil on canvas

c1870 The Pink Dress 
oil on canvas

1871-72 Woman and Child on a Balcony 
oil on canvas

1872 Interior 
oil on canvas 23.6 x 73 cm

1872 The Cradle 
oil on canvas 56 x 46 cm

1873 Hide-and-Seek 
oil on canvas 45 x 55 cm

1873 Reading with Green Umbrella 
oil on canvas

c1873 Young Girl with a Parrot 
pastel on paper 60 x 49.5 cm

1874 Boats under Construction 
oil on canvas

1874 Chasing Butterflies 
oil on canvas

1874 Madame Boursier and Her Daughter 
oil on canvas 73 x 56.5 cm

1874 On the Terrace 
oil on canvas

1874 Portrait of Madame Hubbard 
oil on canvas

1875 At the Ball 
oil on canvas

1875 English Seascape 
oil on canvas

1875 Eugène Manet on the Isle of White 
oil on canvas 38.1 x 18.1 cm


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