Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring Landscape #2 - by Berthe Morisot

I had no idea that French impressionist painter Berthe Morisot drew landscapes in coloured pencils - I think of her as somebody painted people.

However a search for spring landscapes turned up this coloured pencil drawing by Berthe Morisot of a Spring Landscape.  Not only that but it turns out that, like me, she also preferred to hatch with her coloured pencils!

Spring Landscape by Berthe Morisot NGA Washington
Drawing of a Spring Landscape (c. 1890/1891) by Berthe Morisot
colored pencils and graphite, 23.7 x 18.4 cm (9 5/16 x 7 1/4 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection,
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington

The Musee Marmottan has the first and major retrospective exhibition of works by Berthe Morisot between 8 March to 1 July 2012 - Marmottan Monet – Berthe Morisot

I discovered a little bit about Morisot and her landscape drawings and paintings.

She was born on January 14, 1841, in Bourges, France and was the granddaughter of the influential Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard.  She studied painting with her sister Edma.  Edma was Berthe’s painting companion until 1869, and her favourite model from 1869 to 1873.

At the time women were not allowed to study at official art schools and this did not change until the latter years of the nineteenth century.  Instead the sisters copied masterpieces from the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s under Joseph Guichard.

They then studied with the well-known landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, who was associated with the Barbizon school of painters, and began painting outdoor scenes and working plein air.  Corot subsequently became a friend of Morisot's and she worked with him between 1862 to 1868.  Through she was Corot introduced her to other artists.

In terms of exhibiting her art, Morisot was able to exhibit at the Salon de Paris for a decade with her first work being exhibited in Salon in 1864.  She was just 23 years old when two landscape paintings were accepted for the exhibition

In 1874, she subsequently joined the "rejected" Impressionists in the first of their own exhibitions held at the studio of the photographer Nadar. Fellow exhibitors included Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.

Morisot was also a close friend of Manet and in 1874 she married Eugene Manet, Edouard's younger brother.  Morisot was the link which led to Manet joining the painters who formed the group known as the Impressionists.

Below is a landscape that demonstrates that Morisot also brought a touch of the domestic and woman's world to her landscape paintings. Here's a painting from her years of married life.

Percher de Blanchisseuses (English: Hanging the Laundry out to Dry) (1875) by Berthe Morisot
33 × 40.6 cm (13 × 16 in)
National Gallery of Art, Washington


vivien said...

I've always liked her work.

At the same time, Renoir - he of the sweet and amenable ladies, was saying that women painters were an abomination and women should be in the bedroom or the kitchen! It makes you look at his paintings in a slightly different light.

Gwen John, though allowed to study at art school, wasn't allowed to draw from the nude. Her life is worth reading up on though as she had quite an adventurous, bohemian life in contrst to her quiet delicate paintings.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

I love her work so much, I bought a book at the Musee Marmottan in 1998 written in French (which I can barely read.) Thanks for sharing about her.


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