La Grand Dame of Impressionism: Celebrating Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot, a major retrospective in 70 years at the Museé Marmottan Monet in Paris stands as a testament to Morisot’s remarkable, yet exasperating career. Contrary to the documentation of the blooming Parisian life, which presented itself as a motif and playground for her male contemporaries like Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas, the iconography of intimate household life held a predominant position in her recorded 850 works. And the 'happenings' of the home and repetitive rituals of daily routine become central in revealing the nineteenth-century female bourgeois experience; either immersed in a 'proper' domestic recreation or in the midst of quiet contemplation. Inevitably, her contribution to Impressionism is often cocooned merely as visual accounts perpetuating an expression of intrinsic femininity. Yet her exceptional sense of palette, treatment of light, free hand and transparency lend to her mastery and undeniable presence in the then male dominated arena. Morisot surpasses the social parameters defining and enforcing her inextricable relationship to domesticity and perpetual presence in the household by showing in multiple exhibitions at the Salon de Paris and becoming one of the first female painters of the nineteenth-century Parisian pubic, a realm in which she establishes great eminence.