Thursday, February 17, 2011

"SHE LIVED HER PAINTING AND PAINTED HER LIFE"




Berthe Morisot by Edouard Manet, 1872
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Bertha Morisot, 1875
Image Source van-gogh.fr


Much of the art world pre-dating the 20th Century is clearly dominated by male artists. Those few women who showed talent and skill are even today often depicted as followers of “great men” rather than great artists in their own right. The works of Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot (January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895) are still rarely discussed without comparing their works to Manet, Degas and the other Impressionists.
Women artists were limited in their artistic endeavors by social convention – nudes and depictions of males in any form were strictly taboo. Women in general were expected to forego careers in favor of motherhood. Painting and other artistic endeavors were simply activities ladies of fine families did to pass the time. Even a modern historian goes so far as to imply that Berthe was some sort of independent spirit who painted against her family’s wishes. Fortunately for the world, that couldn’t be further from the truth – her parents and her husband supported her efforts.
Morisot’s future as an artist began early. Some would say it was part of her heritage. Though sources have listed him as her grand-father, great-grandfather as well as uncle, the Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard sits firmly on her family tree. Another work identifies her grandfather as a distinguished architect and another mention that her father, Tiburee Morisot had studied in the Ecole de Beaux-Arts. Tiburee didn’t pursue painting as a career and would become a government official.
(thefamousartists.com)


Cornfield
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Hanging the Laundry out to dry
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Old Path at Auvers
Image Source cgfa.acropolisinc.com


The Harbor at Lorient
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Source 4.bp.blogspot.com


Staked roses
Image Source stampboards.com


The daughter of a high government official (and a granddaughter of the important Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard), Berthe Morisot decided early to be an artist and pursued her goal with seriousness and dedication. From 1862 to 1868 she worked under the guidance of Camille Corot. She first exhibited paintings at the Salon in 1864. Her work was exhibited there regularly through 1874, when she vowed never to show her paintings in the officially sanctioned forum again. In 1868 she met Édouard Manet, who was to exert a tremendous influence over her work. He did several portraits of her, Manet had a liberating effect on her work, and she in turn aroused his interest in outdoor painting.
(globalgallery.com)


The Artist's Sister Edma and Their Mother
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Image Source csupomona.edu


Morisot's work never lost its Manet-like quality--an insistence on design--nor did she become as involved in colour-optical experimentation as her fellow Impressionists. Her paintings frequently included members of her family, particularly her sister, Edma (e.g., "The Artist's Sister, Mme Pontillon, Seated on the Grass," 1873; and "The Artist's Sister Edma and Their Mother," 1870). Delicate and subtle, exquisite in colour--often with a subdued emerald glow--they won her the admiration of her Impressionist colleagues. Like that of the other Impressionists, her work was ridiculed by many critics. Never commercially successful during her lifetime, she nevertheless outsold Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. She was a woman of great culture and charm and counted among her close friends StéphaneMallarmé, Edgar Degas, Charles Baudelaire, Émile Zola, Emmanuel Chabrier, Renoir, and Monet. She married Édouard Manet's younger brother Eugène.
(globalgallery.com)


The Little Girl from Nice
Image Source csupomona.edu


Young Woman powdering Herself
Image Source insecula.com


Peasant Hanging out the Washing
Image Source artcopy.de


Butterfly Hunt
Image Source onokart.wordpress.com


The Cradle
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Apart from a few landscapes and seascapes, Berthe Morisot painted intimate female portraits and charming interior scenes (Butterfly Hunt, 1874, The Cradle, 1872) with great sensitivity.
She visited Italy in 1881 and 1882, which heralded the orange tones that thenceforth dominated her canvases. During the last ten years of her life, Berthe Morisot painted prolifically, around Nice and later Touraine. Her bright, luminous and colorful style became more spiritual, and even more moving, after the death of her husband.
Related by marriage, Paul Valery accurately summed up the natural character of Morisot’s art, writing that ''the uniqueness of Berthe Morisot was that she lived her painting and painted her life''. Her canvases and watercolors, gathered together for her only solo exhibition in 1892 and for the posthumous exhibition organized by her friends Degas and Renoir, clearly reveal the Impressionist aesthetic.
(knol.google.com)
The novelist George Moore said of Berthe Morisot, “Only one woman created a style, and that woman is Madame Morisot. Her pictures are the only pictures painted by a woman that could not be destroyed without creating a blank, a hiatus in the history of art.”
(thefamousartists.com)

Timeline:
1841: born in Bourges
1862: starts working with Corot
1865: debuts at the Salon with Study and Still Life
1867: critical meeting with Manet
1868: serves as Manet’s model for The Balcony
1872: The Cradle
1874: marries Manet’s brother and takes part in the Impressionists’ exhibition
1881: Sewing in the Garden, travels to Italy
1891: Picking Cherries
1892: only solo show
1895: dies prematurely at the age of 44 in Paris
1896: posthumous exhibition at Durand-Ruel’s gallery.
(knol.google.com)


No comments: