Title: Woman and Child on a Balcony
Artist: Berthe Morisot (1841–1895)
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 61 cm (24 ″); Width: 50 cm (19.6 ″)
Today, Friday January 3, 2020, my hubby and I are visiting the Tacoma Art Museum, to see an exhibit of Impressionist paintings: Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Their Circle: French Impressionism and the Northwest. I will post about the experience next Friday, and hope to have photographs.
In the meantime, I present you with a female artist, Berthe Morisot, who was the sister-in-law to Eduard Manet. I hope to see her work represented there.
What I love about this painting:
It is only when you stand back from it that you realize how deftly Morisot conveyed the impressions of a pleasant day, a busy harbor, and a curious child. Up close, it is nearly indecipherable, but from a distance—which is how art in the impressionist style should be viewed—it is a delightful image. Is the young woman a nanny or mother? The small girl seems happy in her company. The two take in the view on a hazy afternoon—there is a sense of affluence and harmony in moment captured by the artist.
About the Artist, vis Wikipedia
Berthe Morisot came from an eminent family, the daughter of a government official and the great-niece of a famous Rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She met her longtime friend and colleague, Édouard Manet, in 1868. Morisot was married to Édouard’s brother, Eugène Manet, in 1874.
Eugene was also a French painter but did not achieve the high reputation of his older brother, Édouard Manet, or his wife, Berthe. He devoted much of his efforts to supporting his wife’s career.
On November 14, 1878, she gave birth to her only child, Julie, who posed frequently for her mother and other Impressionist artists, including Renoir and her uncle Édouard.
It is hard to trace the stages of Morisot’s training and to tell the exact influence of her teachers because she was never pleased with her work and she destroyed nearly all of the artworks she produced before 1869.
Morisot’s mature career began in 1872. She found an audience for her work with Durand-Ruel, the private dealer, who bought twenty-two paintings. In 1877, she was described by the critic for Le Temps as the “one real Impressionist in this group.” She chose to exhibit under her full maiden name instead of using a pseudonym or her married name. As her skill and style improved, many began to rethink their opinion toward Morisot. In the 1880 exhibition, many reviews judged Morisot among the best, even including Le Figaro critic Albert Wolff.
Correspondence between Morisot and Édouard Manet shows warm affection, and Manet gave her an easel as a Christmas present. Morisot often posed for Manet and there are several portrait painting of Morisot such as Repose (Portrait of Berthe Morisot) and Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet. Morisot died on March 2, 1895, in Paris, of pneumonia contracted while attending to her daughter Julie’s similar illness, and thus making her an orphan at the age of 16.
Credits and Attributions:
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Berthe Morisot 001.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Berthe_Morisot_001.jpg&oldid=359873236 (accessed January 2, 2020).
Wikipedia contributors, “Berthe Morisot,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Berthe_Morisot&oldid=931800099 (accessed January 2, 2020).
Wikipedia contributors, “Eugène Manet,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eug%C3%A8ne_Manet&oldid=895506929 (accessed January 2, 2020).