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Berthe Morisot at the Marmottan-Monet museum

From October 18, 2023 to March 3, 2024, the Marmottan Monet museum presents sixty-five works from French and foreign museums as well as private collections brought together for the first time. The purpose of this exhibition is to highlight the links which unite the work of the first woman impressionist, Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) to the art of Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), François Boucher (1703-1770) or again Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) of whom Berthe's mother is a great-niece.

Berthe Morisot. La fable. 1883. Collection particulière
Berthe Morisot. La fable. 1883. Collection particulière

The first section returns to a living environment where 18th century art is still very present. The rehabilitation of 18th century painting which is concomitant with the beginnings of Berthe Morisot, the organization of temporary exhibitions in the 1860s then the entry into the Louvre Museum of a historical ensemble known as the La Caze legacy, completes an aesthetic of everyday life and the beautiful world. It is the fusion of these two elements that is illustrated in the masterful works around 1875-1880, such as the Young Woman Watering a Shrub.

Berthe Morisot. Jeune femme arrosant un arbuste. 1876. Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Berthe Morisot. Jeune femme arrosant un arbuste. 1876. Richmond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Next comes the section dedicated to the triumphant impressionism of Berthe Morisot. Between Jean-François Boucher and the scenes of the artist's Parisian life, we find the same appetite for light colors as well as a conception of feminine beauty.

Berthe Morisot. Femme à sa toilette. 1875-1880. The Art Institute of Chicago
Berthe Morisot. Femme à sa toilette. 1875-1880. The Art Institute of Chicago

The following section is dedicated to Jean-Honoré Fragonard which unfolds around one of his flagship paintings: The Music Lesson, exceptionally loaned by the Louvre Museum.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. La leçon de musique. 1770. Musée du Louvre.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard. La leçon de musique. 1770. Musée du Louvre.
Berthe Morisot. Autoportrait. 1885. Musée Marmottan Monet
Berthe Morisot. Autoportrait. 1885. Musée Marmottan Monet


Several major works by the impressionist are grouped together at a short distance: The Lady in the Muff (Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art) and, opposite, the artist's self-portrait in 1885 (Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet) are the most illustrious. Here it is indeed the freedom of style, the visible touch which dominates even more than the pinkish brown tones.





Berthe Morisot. D'après JF Boucher. Apollon et Issé. 1892. Musée Marmottan Monet
Berthe Morisot. D'après JF Boucher. Apollon et Issé. 1892. Musée Marmottan Monet

In mourning for her husband Eugène Manet, in 1892, Berthe Morisot turned again to Jean-François Boucher whom she copied during a visit to the Tours museum: Apollo revealing his divinity to the shepherdess Issé.

Berthe Morisot absorbed the ways of 18th century painters, their colorful reflections, their taste for sketching. His works teach us to look better at 18th century painting.


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In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the 19th century in France...




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