January 14 - Happy Birthday, Berthe Morisot

Posted on January 14, 2018

There was an entire circle of painters hanging out together in the 1800s, in Paris - and together they pushed one another and the world of art and even the general public to new ways of seeing the world.

And for their troubles, they earned harsh criticism - one might even say, in some cases, open hatred - from (1) the art establishment, (2) art critics, and (3) art lovers all over the world.

Of course eventually this group of painters, who became known as Impressionists, were hailed as great and marvelous - even by (1) the art establishment, (2) art critics, and (3) art lovers all over the world.

Three of the Paris-based Impressionists were women, although you wouldn't know it from the painting of Impressionists above. Today's famous birthday, Berthe Morisot, was one of "les trois grandes dames." She was born in France on this date in 1841.

Morisot's life is interesting partly because she did not suffer from poverty - like so many artists do - or even as much sexism as one might expect. She was raised in a family with financial security, and the family moved to Paris when Morisot was very young. As a part of her bourgeois education, Morisot received training in art, and she became a registered copyist at the Louvre. It was very much recommended, back then at least, that young artists learn to draw and paint by copying the masters.

Morisot met many artists and art teachers, and her work was accepted and shown in the famous Salon de Paris when she was just 23 years old. This Salon was THE art establishment I mentioned above - the people who rejected the early works of artists that ended up becoming Impressionists.

After a decade of showing work at the Salon, in 1874 Morisot switched to show her work with the new, independent exhibitions being put on by the Impressionists, many of whom had faced rejection by the Salon. This first Impressionist exhibition was called Salon des Refusés, or Salon of the Refused. It also featured works by such now-familiar names as Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cézanne, and Degas. 

Another of the Impressionists was Édouard Manet...and Morisot married the brother of this artist, a man named Eugène Manet. Morisot had a little girl - and she ended up painting her child many times. 

Morisot usually created artworks that were small in scale, and she sketched as well as painted with oils, watercolors, and pastels. 

One of the most revolutionary aspects of Morisot's work was that she painted what she herself experienced in daily life. This "ordinary" subject matter was not typical before Impressionism and later art movements.

No comments:

Post a Comment