Feminine Impressionnism : Berthe Morisot

Outings | A day in Paris | Cultural events | Exhibitions
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A day in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay

Works by the women involved in the Impressionist movement finally in the spotlight! Following the Mary Cassatt exhibition this winter, Berthe Morisot's works are on show this summer. Around sixty paintings retracing her exceptional career make up the exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay. In times when women could not attend Art Schools, Berthe learnt to paint by befriending various artists, including Camille Corot and first exhibited at the Salon de Paris in 1864. She quickly became one of the main figures of Parisian avant-gardism, rubbing shoulders with Fantin-Latour and Puvis de Chavannes as well as Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Thus she became one of the major figures of Impressionism, taking part in the first official exhibition of the movement in 1874 and in the following ones until 1886.

Her subjects are inspired by her daily life as a Parisian grande bourgeoise: seaside resorts or countryside walks for outdoor scenes, portraits of her relatives -her sister Edma in particular- or daily life scenes with children, nurses and servants for indoor scenes. The Cradle is one of the most famous paintings of her early works; it portrays a woman in profile watching over a newborn baby in a cradle: the composition made of two crossing diagonals -that of the veil of the cradle and that of the mother's gaze linked to the child's face- the subtle play of the veil transparencies and the bluish colors, make it a work full of intimate truth and elegance. Very close to Edouard Manet who made almost fourteen portraits of her, in fact she married his younger brother, Eugene, when she was already a confirmed painter. Berthe Morisot sought to capture the temporary moments of life, thus she developed a bold style underpinned by clarity and melody, which earned her the title of impressionist in the strong sense of the term.

At the same time, another woman is in the spotlight at the Musée d'Orsay, Tracey Emin, whose drawings of feminine figures and nudes you can admire. Formerly a nefarious artist, now a chairholder at the Royal Academy of Arts, she tries with her fast and energetic Works to capture the impression and the moment, as did Berthe Morisot.