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Berthe Morisot, the forgotten icon of Impressionism, showcased at Musée D’Orsay

On June 18th, 2019, D’Orsay Museum opens its doors for the first time to female Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. We’re excited!

During the second half of the 19th century, there were two sisters whose great uncle was no other than Jean-Honoré Fragonard, France’s Rococo master painter, therefore they grew up with the inspiration and motivation to become painters themselves. Supportive times for girls’ education allowed Berthe Morisot and her sister Edma to begin their careers as artists.

The Garden at Maurecourt by Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot, “The Garden at Maurecourt”, about 1884.

The trend of painting outdoors, marking the beginnings of Impressionism, interested Berthe, leading painters outside their workshops to paint on-site. The family table often hosted famous names like French writers Emile Zola, Charles Baudelaire, and painter Edouard Manet. Berthe became Manet’s student, and occasionally modelled for his paintings. Despite the overbearing shadow of her famous teacher, she found her own style in the Impressionist fashion, while her sister Edma married and never painted again.

A founding figure of Impressionism

Along with Monet, Degas, Pissarro and Renoir, she co-founded the Anonymous Painter, Sculptor and Engraver Society” which helped and allowed impressionists to exhibit their work outside the stifling salons of the Fine Arts Academy. She married Manet’s brother and had a daughter, all while becoming famous for her work. She exhibited her art at events every year and received appraisals from the intelligentsia and hosted parties for her friends Degas, Monet, Mallarmé, Caillebotte, Pissaro and Renoir. Needless to say she was well surrounded.

Portrait of Madame Marie Hubbard by Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot, “Portrait of Madame Marie Hubbard”, 1874.

When she died, despite a brilliant career, she was buried without mention of her being a painter for a woman could not be acknowledge as such at the time. Her work quickly fell into oblivion… to be discovered again a hundred years later, at the turn of the 21st century by the grace of an American exhibition that hosted her paintings. Undeniably, Berthe Morisot was a major character in the impressionist fashion during the late 19th century, and we all have the opportunity now to admire her work in Musée d’Orsay in Paris until September 22nd.

Enjoy Berthe Morisot’s exhibition and the rest of Orsay’s impressionist collection with us! Book our Private Tour of Orsay Museum here.

Article written by Clémence

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