Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Discovering Berthe Morisot at Paris Museum
Last week while buying for clients in France, I discovered Museum Marmottan Monet had a special exhibition of the works of Berthe Morisot ( 1841-1895), who along with Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt were the great women of Impressionism. The crowds were huge and security tight....even special sensors to detect and prevent phones( definitely no photos allowed).
The large exhibition of perhaps 50 works was astounding....arranged to show how she developed over the years...landscapes, portraits, garden settings, boating scenes .... even large scale decorative painting for her drawing room in Paris.
Interesting that her art career started at 16, when her mother enrolled her,along with her two sisters, in drawing classes...wanting them to create Christmas gifts for their father. Later, becoming a classical copiest of Louvre and then went to study with Corot, who started her painting outdoors..plein air. Later passing her love for outdoor painting to Edouard Manet, convincing him also to become plein air painter. At 33, she married Edouard Manet's younger brother, Eugene Manet.
Like Mary Cassatt, Morisot focused on domestic life and portraits.... using family and friends as models.
Her sister, Edma, and only daughter, Julie, were often subjects of her works....it is Julie in the above painting with her whippet.
Morisot died at only 54......while caring for her daughter, Julie, with pneumonia...Morisot also developed pneumonia and could not recover.