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Edma Morisot, the thwarted itinerary...

She had talent, a lot of talent. One of the Morisot siblings, Edma Morisot (1839-1921) was born one year after the eldest Yves and two years before the youngest Berthe.

In 1857 their mother Marie-Cornélie Morisot decided to enroll her three daughters in drawing lessons with Gustave-Alphonse Chocarne. A year later, Berthe and Edma joined the lessons of Joseph Guichard, a former student of Jean-Dominique Ingres. Then, there are the lessons of Camille Corot and those of the landscape painter Achille Oudinot.

In 1869, Edma married a naval officer, Adolphe Pontillon and she settles in Lorient. From then on, she will no longer paint, or almost. As required by the proprieties of the time, she devoted herself to her role as wife and mother. She will have tow daughters, Jeanne and Blanche.

Edma Morisot. Paysage avec pêcheur. Vers 1865. Collection particulière
Edma Morisot. Paysage avec pêcheur. Vers 1865. Collection particulière

A strong complicity united Edma and Berthe, who painted together for almost 10 years and exhibited at the Salon from 1864. In 1865, they obtained from their father the construction of a studio in the garden of the family home.

Edma Morisot. Portrait de Berthe Morisot au chevalet. Vers 1865. Collection particulière
Edma Morisot. Portrait de Berthe Morisot au chevalet. Vers 1865. Collection particulière

When Edma had to separate from her sister after her marriage, she wrote to her on March 15, 1869:

"I am often with you, my dear Berthe, in thought; I am in your studio and I would like to be able to escape even for a quarter of an hour to breathe this atmosphere in which we have lived for many long years. ".

Berthe Morisot. Portrait de MBerthe Morisot, Portrait de Madame Edma Pontillon, née Edma Morisot, soeur de l'artiste, en 1871, pastel sur papier, H. 81,5 ; L. 65,8 cm. , Legs Mme Pontillon, 1921, © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Berthe Morisot, Portrait de Madame Edma Pontillon, née Edma Morisot, soeur de l'artiste, en 1871, pastel sur papier, H. 81,5 ; L. 65,8 cm. , Legs Mme Pontillon, 1921, © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

I can't help but think of what Edma's work would have become if she had been able to continue to devote herself to painting! But let's not sink into alternate history... Let's appreciate the works she left us, most of which appear in private collections... When will there be an exhibition?


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



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