Have you ever heard of Berthe Morisot? Neither had I. Until very recently – a couple of weeks ago to be precise, when I saw her work at the Musée Marmottan-Monet, I had never heard of or seen any of Morisot’s work. Even though she was one of the main figures of the impressionist movement. What a shame! It makes me wonder as to the reason why? Is it because of bad luck or missed opportunities? Or is it because, as a female artist, her work isn’t as famous as her counterparts such as Monet or Renoir?
In any case, I am glad I found her because her work, which is currently exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, shows so much talent and dare that it would have been a shame to miss it.
Working mainly on figures and portraits, Morisot uses her painting to document modern life, particularly the life and status of women in the 19th century. Using her personal technique of nervous brush strokes that sometimes approached abstract art, she sometimes decided not to paint the whole canvas to point the focus entirely on the subject of the painting, usually absorbed into a reverie.
Morisot’s work is poetic, beautiful and in a way, avant-garde. It demands contemplation. You can do so if you’re in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay until Sept. 22nd.