Episode #4 of the course “Impressionist artists who changed the art world”
Sister-in-law to Edouard Manet and an accomplished painter, Berthe Morisot was one of the 19th-century circle of French artists in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. Exhibiting largely at the Salon de Refuses (Salon of the Rejects), her avant-garde style would influence many of the other painters of the day. Known for her oil paintings, watercolors, and sketches, she often left the edges of her work unfinished, increasing their look of spontaneity. She was also one of the first proponents of the new Impressionist technique of painting outdoors and convinced Manet to try the approach.
Born in 1841, Morisot enjoyed a privileged upbringing, including private painting tutors who took her to the Louvre to study the masters. She often painted with her sister, who remained an advocate for Berthe’s artistic career for the rest of her life. In 1864, she exhibited at the Salon de Paris for the first time, where she continued to display her works for the next ten years. By 1877 she was one of the prominent Impressionists at the Salon, drawing in crowds until the culmination of her career with her first solo exhibit in 1892.
The Old Track to Auvers
Morisot depicted scenes of domestic life, portraits, and contemporary femininity. Her work shows she was familiar with the changes in fashion and other particulars of a 19th-century Parisian woman’s life. She did not, however, paint urban scenes as many of her contemporaries did. When she painted outdoors, it was generally landscapes.
Although Morisot had a lengthy career and produced hundreds of works, one of her best known is The Cradle of 1872, which depicts a mother and child in their nursery. The flat perspective, thick lines, and short brushstrokes enhance the bold use of color and are all trademarks of Morisot’s Impressionist style. Morisot continued to paint and exhibit until her death from pneumonia in 1895.
Woman and Child in a Garden
“It is important to express oneself… provided the feelings are real and are taken from your own experience.”
“The love of art.. .. reconciles us to our lined faces and white hear.”
“My ambition is limited to capturing something transient.”
“Berthe Morisot” by Marianne Mathieu
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