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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot (1841 – 1895) was an Impressionist painter who exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris in 1864. The Salon was the annual exhibition of the Académie des beaux-arts in Paris. Her work was selected for exhibition in six subsequent Salons until, in 1874, she joined the “rejected” Impressionists in the first of their shows, which included Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley.

Morisot, an original member of the group and contributed paintings to seven of the eight Impressionists exhibitions and contributed financially to sustain the Impressionist Movement. Morisot was married to Eugène Manet, the brother of her friend and colleague Édouard Manet.

Berthe Morisot

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Berthe Morisot

The Mother and Sister of the Artist

“The Mother and Sister of the Artist” by Berthe Morisot depicts a family portrait and an intimate scene, which the artist created when Morisot’s sister stayed with her family in the winter of 1869–1870 to await the birth of her first child. The loose white morning robe discreetly disguises the pregnancy.

“Morisot was anxious about submitting the painting to the Salon, and she sought Manet’s advice. Manet saw the painting on the very last day of submissions when he finally visited the Morisot home and studio. Manet contributed by repainting the figure of the mother. Manet’s contributions can be seen in the mother’s features and dress compared to Morisot’s approach with her sister’s features, the floral upholstery, and the reflections in the mirror.

The Mother and Sister of the Artist

  • Title:               The Mother and Sister of the Artist
  • Français:         Portrait de Mme Morisot et de sa fille Mme Pontillon ou La lecture
  • Artist:             Berthe Morisot
  • Created:         1870
  • Media:            oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:   Height: 101 cm (39.7 ″); Width: 81.8 cm (32.2 ″)
  • Museum:        National Gallery of Art, DC

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Berthe Morisot

 

La Coiffure by Berthe Morisot

La Coiffure by Berthe Morisot depicts a standing women hairstyling the hair of a seated girl. Created in 1894, Morisot started to use the technique of squaring and the medium of tracing paper to transcribe her drawing to the canvas exactly. By employing this new method, Morisot was able to create more complicated interaction between figures in her paintings.

This graphic approach featured by clear lines made her works during this period distinctive. She stressed the composition and the forms while using impressionist techniques as in this painting.

La Coiffure

  • Title:               La Coiffure
  • English:          The hairstyle
  • Artist:             Berthe Morisot
  • Created:         1894
  • Media:            oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:   55 x 46 cm
  • Museum:         Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA)

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A Tour of Women in the Arts

Quotes by Berthe Morisot

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“Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.”

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“A love of nature is a consolation against failure.”

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“It is important to express oneself… provided the feelings are real and are taken from your own experience.”

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“Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.”

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“I love only extreme novelty or the things of the past.”

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“My ambition is limited to the desire to capture something transient, and yet, this ambition is excessive.”

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Reflections

  • “A love of nature is a consolation against failure.” – Berthe Morisot
  • “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein
  • “I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” – Virginia Woolf,

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“A love of nature is a consolation against failure.”
– Berthe Morisot

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Photo Credit 1) Édouard Manet [Public domain]

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