Berthe Morisot

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
photo of Berthe Morisot, 1875 - photographer: Charles Reutlinger
Berthe Morisot, painted by Manet in 1872

Berthe Morisot (14 January, 1841 – 2 March, 1895) was a French painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. Undervalued for over a century, possibly because she was a woman, she is now considered among the first league of Impressionist painters.

Quotes of Berthe Morisot[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot, 1863: 'The Old Track to Auvers', oil-painting
Edma Morisot, 1865: 'Portrait of Berthe Morisot', by her sister Edma, oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1867: 'Rosbras, Brittany', oil-painting
Berthe Morisot, 1867: 'Paysage', watercolor on paper
Berthe Morisot, 1869: 'The Sisters', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1869: 'The Mother and Sister of the Artist / Portrait de Mme Morisot et de sa fille Mme Pontillon ou La lecture', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1869-70: 'The Harbor at Lorient', oil-painting on canvas; - quote of Berthe Morisot, 1870: '..to my great surprise and satisfaction I received the highest praise [on her Lorient-paintings from Edouard Manet ]. It seems that what I do is decidedly better than Eva Gonzalès. Manet is too candid, and there can be no mistake about it..'
Berthe Morisot, 1871: 'Portrait of a Woman', pastel on paper
Berthe Morisot, 1872: 'View of Paris from the Trocadero', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1872: 'Woman and Child on a Balcony / Femme et enfant au balcon', watercolor-painting
Berthe Morisot, 1872: 'Femme et enfant au balcon', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1873: 'The Craddle' (Berthe's sister Edma with her young daughter Blanche), oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1873: 'Reading' (portrait of Edma Morisot), oil on fabric
Berthe Morisot, 1875: 'Eugène Manet à l'Ile de Wight / Eugène Manet at the Wight isle', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1875: 'Two Children with a Bowl', oil-painting
Berthe Morisot, 1876: 'Psyche', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1875-80: 'Lady at her toilette', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1880: 'Roses Trémières', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1881: 'Boats on the Seine', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1881: 'Child among the Hollyhocks / Enfant dans les roses trémières', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1881: 'Woman Hanging Out the Wash', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1883: 'Bords de Seine / Banks of the Seine', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1884: 'Woman and Child in a Garden', painting
Berthe Morisot, 1890: 'The Flute Player', oil-painting on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1891: study of a 'Lying farm-girl', drawing
Berthe Morisot, 1891: 'Bergère nue couchée' (Naked lying Shepherdess), oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1892: 'Woman with a Child in a Boat', oil-painting
Berthe Morisot, c. 1893: 'Study for 'La Musique' ', charcoal-drawing on paper
Berthe Morisot, c. 1893: study for 'Young Girl in a Green Coat', pencil-drawing on paper
Berthe Morisot, 1894: 'Julie Manet au chapeau Liberty / Portrait of her daughter Julie', oil on canvas; - quote of Berthe Morisot in the last letter to Julie: 'I would have liked to be with you until you married. Work hard and be good as you have always been; you have never caused me a moment's sorrow in you little life'
Berthe Morisot, 1894: 'Young Woman and Child', oil on canvas
Berthe Morisot, 1894: 'Les enfants de Gabriel Thomas / The Children of Gabriel Thomas', oil on canvas

1860 - 1870[edit]

  • His [ Edouard Manet's] paintings, as they always do, produce the impression of a wild or even a somewhat unripe fruit. I do not in the least dislike them.
    • Quote of Berthe 1864-65 in a letter to her sister Edma Morisot; as cited in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism, Margaret Sehnan; Sutton Publishing (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3) 1996, p. 50
  • Men readily believe that they will fill a whole life; but for my part, I believe that however fond one is of one's husband, one does not relinquish a life of work without some difficulty; affection is a very pretty thing provided it is coupled with something to fill one's day; that something, for you, I see as motherhood.
    • in a letter to her sister Edma Morisot, 23 April 1869; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Camden, London 1986 / Kinston, R. I. Moyer Bell, 1989, p. 29
  • He [ Manet ] begged me to go straight up and see his painting [ 'Le Balcon'] - Berthe was model for this painting], as he was rooted to the spot. I've never seen anyone in such a state, one minute he was laughing, the next insisting his picture was dreadful; in the next breath, sure it would be a huge success.
    • quote from Berthe Morisot to her sister Edma Morisot, after visiting the Salon of Paris in 1869; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart with Adler and Garb; Camden Press London 1984, pp. 33-34
  • The tall fellow Bazille has done something I find quite fine: a young girl [in his painting 'View on the village' ] in a very light dress in the shadow of a tree beyond which one sees a town. There is a good deal of light, sunlight, He is trying to do what we [Berthe and her sister Edma] have so often tried to bring off: to paint a figure in the open air. This time I think he has succeed.
    • in a letter to Berthe's sister Edma, after visiting the Salon of Paris in 1869, from: Morisot's Correspondence, p. 32; as quoted in The history of Impressionism by John Rewald, (Fourth edition), Museum of Modern Art, 1974, New York p. 643
  • He [Manet] came about one o'clock [the day for submitting works for The Paris Salon of 1870]. he found it [ 'Reading', Berthe's double-portrait of her mother with her pregnant sister Edma] very good, except for the lower parts of the dress. He took the brushes and put in a few accents.. ..mother was in ecstasies. That is where my misfortune began. Once started, nothing could stop him, from the skirt he went to the bust, from the bust to the head, from the head to the background. He cracked a thousand jokes, laughed like a madman, handed me the palette, took it back; finally by five o'clock in the afternoon we had made the best caricature you have ever seen.
    • In a letter, Winter of 1869; as quoted in The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, pp. 62-63
    • Manet was 'correcting' in her painting, fresh-made by Berthe; after some desperate hours Berthe recovered the painting, and resubmitted it in the nick of time. The jury of the Salon accepted it and she was even complimented on her work
  • Corot spoiled the 'étude' [study] we admired so much when we saw it at his home, by redoing it in the studio.
    • Quote in a letter to Edma, 1869, in Morisot's Correspondence, p. 32; as cited by Margaret Sehnan in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. 86
  • I will achieve it only [being an artist] by perseverance, and by openly asserting my determination to emancipate myself, [but].. ..I both lament and envy your [Edma's] fate. Bichette [her niece] helps me to understand maternal love; she comes onto my bed every morning and plays so sweetly.. ..life gets more complicated by the day here now I am gripped by the desire to have children, that' all I need.
    • in an unpublished extract from a letter of Berthe to Edma, written in 1869; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Camden, London 1986 / Kinston, R. I. Moyer Bell, 1989, p. 31 (private collection)
  • During the day I received a visit from Puvis de Chavannes; he saw what I had done [painted in 1869-70 in Lorient] and didn't seem to think it was too bad.. ..The Manet's [the brothers Eduard and Eugene Manet] came to see us [Berthe and her mother] Tuesday evening, we visited the studio; to my great surprise and satisfaction I received the highest praise. it seems that what I do is decidedly better than Eva Gonzalès. Manet is too candid, and there can be no mistake about it. I am sure that he liked these things a great deal; however, I remember what Fantin says, namely, that Manet always approves of the painting of people whom he likes.
    • quote from Morisot's letter, September 1870 to Edma, in Morisot's Correspondence, p. 32; as cited in Psychoanalytic Perspetives on Art, ed. Mary M. Gedo – 2013, p. 155
  • I have heard so much about the perils ahead that I have had nightmares for several nights, in which I lived through all the horrors of war.. .The militia are quartered in the studio, hence there is no way of using it. I do not read the newspapers much any more; one a day is enough for me. The Prussian atrocities upset me, and I want to retain my composure.. .Would you believe that I am accustomed to the sound of the canon [of the Prussians]? It seems to me that I am now absolutely inured to war and capable of enduring everything.
    • In a letter, Late Sept. 1870 to her sister Edma, from besieged Paris by the Germans; as cited in Impressionist quartet, ed. Jeffrey Meyers; publishers, Harcourt, 2005, p. 107
  • This painting, this work you miss so much [the two sisters Morisot painted a lot together] is a cause of much trouble and concern, you know this as well as I do and yet, child that you are, you are already weeping for the loss of the very thing that darkened you mood only recently. Think of it, yours is not the very worst lot: you have a real affection, a devoted heart that is yours an yours alone, do not be ungrateful for the dealings of fate, think of the great sorrow that is solitude; whatever anyone says or does, womankind has immense need of affection; to want to retreat into yourself is to attempt the impossible.
    • in Berthe's letter to her sister Edma, c. 1870; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Camden, London 1986 / Kinston, R. I. Moyer Bell, 1989, p. 29
  • The stories of the Manet brothers [ Edouard and her future husband Eugène Manet ] tell about all the horrors we are likely to face, they [in Paris, during the war between France and Germany] are almost enough to discourage even the bravest of us. [But] you know they [the Manet brothers] always exaggerate, and at the moment they see everything in the blackest possible light.
    • In a letter of Berthe, from Paris, to Edma who stayed then in Brittany, 1870; as quoted in The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, p. 72
  • It seems to me a painting [she is working on] like the one I gave Manet ['The Harbour at Lorient'] could perhaps sell, and that is all I care about.
    • note about her first painting she started after the battle in Paris, 1870; in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot with her family and friends', ed. Denis Rouart (transl. Betty W. Hubbard); Camden Press, London, 1986, p. 57

1871 - 1880[edit]

  • He [ Manet ] holds up that eternal Mademoiselle Gonzales as an example; she has poise, perseverance, she can get her things finished whereas I am incapable of doing anything properly. In the meantime he [Manet] has started her portrait again, for the twenty-fifth time. She poses every day, and every night he rubs out the head..
    • quote in Berthe's letter to her sister Edma, circa 1871; as cited in The Private Lives of the Impressionists Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, p. 57
  • I do not like this place [ Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a small fishing-village on the Spanish border]. I find it arid and dried up. The sea here is ugly. It is either all blue - I hate it like that - or dark and dull.
  • There is constant sun, good weather all the time, the ocean like a slab of slate - there is nothing less picturesque than this combination.
    • 2 quotes on weather, in a letter to her sister Edma, Summer 1873; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 1986, p. 43
  • I am keen to earn some money.. ..beginning to lose all hope.. .What I see most clearly is that my situation in impossible from every point of view.
    • quote in her letter to sister Edma, circa 1872/73, after Manet had forgotten to show one of her paintings to art-dealer Durand-Ruel; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 1986, pp. 89-90
  • I have found an honest and excellent man [ Eugène Manet, brother of Edouard Manet ] who, I believe, sincerely loves me. I have entered into the positive life after having lived for a long time in by chimeras.
    • quote from Berthe's letter to her brother Tiburce, 1875; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 198, pp. 95-96
  • ..the glimpse of the dome of St. Paul's through the forest of yellow masts, the whole thing bathed in a golden haze.
    • In a letter to her sister Edma, August 1875; as quoted in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 198, p. 105
    • Berthe is describing the embankment of river Thames
  • Dear sir, Edouard Manet told me that you were kind enough to bring the sketch that you completed of him [Monet painted Manet in his garden, Argenteuil, Summer 1874]. I did not have the time to thank you before leaving Paris [with Eugene Manet, just married]. I treasure your gift all the more because I attribute much value to what you do. My husband and I, when we look out at the English seascapes which around us, often speak of you talent and what you will achieve from this movement.......[unreadable – about the Impressionists?].
    • In her letter from the Island Wight, England in the Summer of 1875; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 210
  • My work is going badly.. ..it is always the same story: I don't know where to start. I made an attempt in a field, but the moment I had set up my easel more than fifty boys and girls were swarming about me, shouting and gesticulating. On a boat one has another kind of difficulty. Everything sways, there is an infernal lap of water; one has the sun and the wind to cope with; the boats change position every minute, etc.. .The view from my window is pretty to look at, but not to paint. Views from above are almost always incomprehensible; as a result of all this I am not doing much..
    • In a letter to her sister Edma Morisot, from the Isle of Wight, Summer 1875; as quoted in Berthe Morisot, by Kathleen Adler and Tamar Garb; Phaidon Press Limited, 1987, p. 65
  • If you read some of the Parisian newspapers, among others the 'Figaro', so beloved of the right-thinking public, you must have learned that I am part of a group of artists who opened a private exhibition [in the art-gallery of Durand-Ruel in Paris, April 1876]. You must also have seen what favour this exhibition enjoys in the eyes of these gentlemen [Berthe refers to the critical articles in Paris with all their mockery about her works]. On the other hand, we have been praised in the radical newspaper, but you don't read those [her aunts]! Well, at least we are getting attention, and we have enough self-esteem not to care. My brother-in-law Edouard Manet is not with us [Manet didn't participate in this first Impressionist show, initiated by Degas ]. Speaking of success, he [Manet] has just been rejected by the Salon; he, too, is perfectly good-humored about his failure.
    • In a letter to her aunts, 1876; as quoted in The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, p. 155
    • Berthe wrote this letter after the second Impressionist exhibition of April 1876 where she was participating with 19 pictures (Monet with 18!)

1881 - 1895[edit]

  • The love of art.. ..reconciles us to our lined faces and white hear. [Berthe Morisot was 40 years then]
    • quote in a letter to a friend, c. 1881; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 1986, p. 117
  • The touch, sure and light [is] fixing something of the passing moment.. ..memory is the true, imperishable life, that which has sunk without trace and been forgotten was not worth experiencing, the sweet hours, and the great and dread, are immutable. Dreams are life itself – and dreams are more true than reality; in them we behave as our true selves – if we have a soul it is there.
    • Quote from her letter to her friend Mallarmé 1882; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Camden, London 1986 / Kinston, R. I. Moyer Bell, 1989, p. 160
    • after her visit to Italy
  • I can not get over everything you did for me in that first day [for his support to hang her works on the 7th Impressionist exhibition, Spring 1882], it seems to me that you are working yourself to death, and all on my account. This touches me deeply and vexes me at the same time.
    • Berthe Morisot, in a letter to her husband Eugene Manet, 1882; as cited in Impressionist quartet, ed. Jeffrey Meyers; publishers, Harcourt, 2005, p. 120
  • These last days [of Manet, dying] were very painful. Poor Edouard suffered atrociously. His agony was horrible, death in one of its most appealing forms, that I once again witnessed at a very close range. If you add to these almost physical emotions my old bond of friendship with Edouard, a entire past of youth and work suddenly ending, you will know that I am devastated.
    • in a letter to her sister Edma, April 1883; as quoted in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 198, p. 131
  • I think that it will be a great success, that all this painting [of Edouard Manet, shortly after his death], so fresh, so vital, will electrify the 'Palais des Beaux Arts' [in Paris], which is accustomed to dead art. It will be the revenge for so many rebuffs, but a revenge that the poor boy only in his grave.
    • in a letter to her sister Edma Morisot, c. Jan 1884; as cited in: Impressionist quartet, ed. Jeffrey Meyers; publishers, Harcourt, 2005, p. 124
  • It is odd that Edouard [Manet] with his reputation as an innovator, who has survived such storms of criticism, should suddenly be seen as a classicist. It just proves the imbecility of the public, for he has always been a classic painter.
    • Quote of Berthe Morisot, 1884; as cited in Impressionist quartet, ed. Jeffrey Meyers; publishers, Harcourt, 2005, pp. 124-125
  • This project [an Impressionist exhibition in Paris] is very much up in the air. Degas' perversity makes it almost impossible of realization; there are clashes of vanity in this little group [of impressionists] that make any understanding difficult. It seems to me that I am the only one without any pettiness of character. This makes up for my inferiority as a painter.. ..the truth is that our value [of woman] lies in feeling, in intuition, in our vision that is subtler than that of men, and we can accomplish a great deal provided that affectation, pedantry and sentimentalism do not come to spoil everything.
    • Quote of Berthe Morisot, 1885; as cited in Impressionist quartet, ed. Jeffrey Meyers; publishers, Harcourt, 2005, p. 94
    • Edgar Degas was the organizing force of most Impressionist exhibitions; this one never took place
  • ..scumbled froth.. ..capable of indicating a mouth, eyes, a nose with a single stroke of the brush, the rest of the face modeled by the perfect accuracy of these indications.
    • Quote of her notebooks about rendering, 1885-86; as cited in Berthe Morisot, ed. Delafond and Genet-Bondeville, 1997, p. 46
  • Would you do us the great favour, you and Mademoiselle Geneviève, of coming to dine next Thursday? Monet will be there, Renoir also..
    • short letter of Berthe to Stéphane Mallarmé, c. 1885-86; as cited in Vie de la Mallarmé, Henri Mondor, publisher Gallimard 1941, p. 501
    • at the Thursday-evening diners were frequently invited Berthe's relations; a. o. Monet, Degas, Renoir, Manet, Mallarmé etc..
  • As I admired it [a red pencil and chalk drawing by Degas of a young mother, nursing her child] he showed me a whole series done from the same model and with the same sort of rhythm. He is a draughtsman of the first order; it would be interesting to show all these preparatory studies for a painting to the public, which generally imagines that the impressionists work in a very casual way. I do not think it possible to go further in the rendering of form.
    • note in Berthe's Journal, Jan. 1886; as quoted in The Private Lives of the Impressionists, Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, pp. 262-263
    • Berthe visited Degas in his studio
  • He [Renoir] is a subtle and brilliant draughtsman.. ..all these preliminary drawings [in Renoir's studio] would astonish the public who obviously imagine the 'Impressionists' work at tremendous speed. I don't believe one can go further [in making sketches as studies] than this in the study of form in a drawing. I am charmed by his 'Nude Bathers' quite as much as those by Ingres. He [Renoir] tells me that he thinks the nude is absolutely indispensable as an art form.
    • note in Berthe's Journal, c. 11 Jan. 1886, after visiting Renoir in his studio; in 'Carnet Beige', Morisot Enchantment, Huisman; as cited in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism, by Margaret Sehnan; Sutton Publishing (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), 1996, p. 234
  • I have descended to the depths of suffering, and it seems to me that after that one cannot help being raised up. But I have spent the last three nights weeping. Pity! Pity! Remembrance is the true imperishable life.. .I should like to live my life over again, to record it, to admit my weaknesses; no, this is useless; I have sinned, I have suffered, I have atoned for it. I could write only a bad novel by relating what has been related a thousand times.
    • Quote from Berthe's Morisot's letter, 1887 - after the death of her husband Eugène Manet
  • Another stroll along the quays with Julie asking questions all the time. We stood for a long time examining the sun and the planet at a mapmaker's.. ..There in the Tuileries Gardens.. ..sitting down I began to ponder over my painting of the garden, watching the shadows on the sand and on the roof of the Louvre, and trying to find the relationship between light and shade. Julie saw pink in the light and purple in the shadows.
    • a note of Berthe Morisot, June, 1887; from 'Carnet Beige', in Morisot Enchantment, Philippe Huisman, La Bibliotheque des Arts; Lausanne; Paris, 1962. p. 26
    • about a walk with daughter Julie, 8 years old, through Paris
  • I do not think any man would ever treat a woman as his equal, and it is all I ask because I know my worth.
    • from a long unpublished notebook of Berthe Morisot, 1890; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2010, 2016, p. 14
  • Your phrase: 'I am working hard at growing old', is absolutely me. What if you were always to speak in my place..
    • Quote from her letter to her friend Mallarmé, 14 July 1891; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Camden, London 1986 / Kinston, R. I. Moyer Bell, 1989, p. 160
  • I saw the passers-by on the avenue clearly and simply, in the way they are in Japanese prints [she saw some earlier, together with Mary Casatt in the 'Ecole des Beaux Arts', Paris]. I was thrilled, I knew definitely why I had been painting badly and why I would never paint that way again. I mean to say, I am fifty years old and once a year at least I have the same joy and the same hope.
    • Quote of Berthe Morisot, Jan. 1891; in 'Carnet Noir'; as cited in Berthe Morisot by Monique Angoulvent, Morance, Paris, 1933, p. 97
  • I say, 'I should like to die', but that's not true at all, I should like to get younger.. ..youth and old age are similar in more ways than one, and they are the two moments in life when one can feel one's own soul which would be a proof that it exists.
    • quote in Berthe's notebook, after the death of her husband Eugène Manet, 1892; cited in Berthe Morisot, ed. Delafond and Genet-Bondeville, 1997, p. 70
  • With what resignation we arrive at the end of life, resigned to all its failures on the one hand, all its uncertainties on the other, for so long I have hoped for nothing, and the desire for glorification after death seems to me an overblown ambition; my own ambition has been confined to a desire to fix something of all that passes, oh! Something, the least little thing, well! That ambition, too, is overblown.
    • late note of Berthe Morisot, c. 1892-1895; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 133
  • My dearest little Julie, I love you as I lie dying; I shall still love you when I am dead. I beg of you, do not cry; this parting was inevitable. I would have liked to be with you until you married – Work hard and be good as you have always been; you have never caused me a moment's sorrow in you little life [Julie is 16, then]. You have beauty, good fortune; use them well. I think the best thing would be to live with your cousins in the Rue de Villejust, but I do not wish to force you to do anything. Give a memento of me to you aunt Edma [Berthe's sister] , and to your cousins too; and give Monet's [painting] 'Bateaux en reparation' to your cousin Gabriel. Tell M. Degas that if he found a museum he is to choose a Manet [of her Manet paintings]. A keepsake for Monet; one for Renoir, and one of my drawings for Bartolomé. Give something to the two concierges. Do not cry, I love you more than I can tell you.
    • Quote of Berthe's last letter to daughter Julie, End of Feb. 1895; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 217

undated quotes[edit]

  • Music and painting should never be literary, a very subtle distinction according to Renoir. As soon as I try to represent an individual, their physiognomy and attitudes, I become a literary artist.
    • Quote in a notebook, after having visited Renoir; as cited in Berthe Morisot, ed. Delafond and Genet-Bondeville, 1997, p. 54
  • My ambition is limited to capturing something transient.
    • in Correspondence de Berthe Morisot, ed. Denis Rouart; Paris (1950)

Quotes about Berthe Morisot[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Berthe Morisot

19th century[edit]

  • They [the sisters Berthe and Edma ] will become painters. Are you fully aware of what that means? It will be revolutionary – I would almost say catastrophic – in your bourgeois society. Are you sure you won't curse Art, because once it is allowed into such a respectable and serene household, it will surely end by dictating the destinies of your two children.
    • Quote of Joseph Guichard to Madame Morisot, End of 1857; in Berthe Morisot, Fourreau, pp. 13-14; as cited in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism, by Margaret Sehnan; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. 38
    • This frequently repeated anecdote originated with Tiburce Morisot, Berthe's brother; Berthe is 16 years old then
  • Since it is not necessary to have had a long training in draughtsmanship at the Academy to paint a copper pot, a candlestick and a bunch of radishes, women succeed quite well in this domestic type of painting. Miss Berthe Morisot brings to the task really a great deal of frankness with a delicate feeling for light and colour.
  • There are works for exhibition, others for the studio, you need to follow the public's taste if you want to succeed.. ..with some works you make your reputation with the artists, with others you do good business if possible
    • advice of Berthe's mother Cornélie, in her letter of 23 July 1867; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2010, 2016, p. 14
  • I would also point out two landscapes by Mesdemoiselles Morisot, - doubtless two sisters [Berthe and Edma]. Corot is sure to be their master. These canvases show a freshness and naivety of expression and atmosphere that provided some respite from the suave, mean-minded work lapped up with such enthusiasm by the crowds. The artists must have painted these studies quite deliberately on the spot [in open-air] determined to reproduce what they saw.
    • Quote of Emile Zola in his 'Salon de 1868'; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 175
  • I quite agree with you, the Mademoiselles Morisot are charming. What a pity they are not men. All the same, they could serve the cause of painting, in their capacity of women, by each marrying an academician and bringing trouble to those old bogeys in the enemy-camp. Or perhaps that's asking too much sacrifice.
    • Quote from Manet's letter to Fantin-Latour, 26 August 1868
    • the letter is written shortly after Henri Fantin-Latour introduced the two in the Summer of 1868 for probably the first time. Later Manet and Berthe started to meet each other much more frequently.
  • I am often with you, my dear Berthe, in my thoughts. I follow you everywhere in your studio and I wish that I could escape, were it only for one quarter of an hour to breathe again that air in which we lived for many years.
    • Quote of her sister Edma, in a letter to Berthe, March/April 1869; from 'Morisot's Correspondence', p. 32; as cited by Margaret Sehnan in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. 79
    • Edma married 8 March 1869 with Adolphe Pontillon [an early friend of Manet]; Edma was already 30. So the two sisters got separated.
  • We also consider that Miss Berthe Morisot's name and talent are too important to us to do without.
    • Quote by Edgar Degas (1873), in his letter to Berthe's sister Cornelie Morisot, in Spring 1873; as cited in The private lives of the Impressionists, by Sue Roe, Harpen Collins Publishers, New York 2006, p. 119
    • Degas was preparing the first Impressionist show – and was in this question in strong opposition to Eduard Manet who wanted to exclude his 'pupil/model' Berthe Morisot.
  • If possible, come and take care of the placing [for the first Impressionist painting show of Spring 1876, in the art-gallery of Durand-Ruel in Paris, with nineteen pictures of Berthe Morisot]. We are planning to hang the works of each painter in the group together, separating them from any others as much as possible.. .. please, do come and direct this.
    • Quote by Edgar Degas, in his letter to Berthe Morisot, Spring 1876; as cited in The Private Lives of the Impressionists, by Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, pp. 152-155
    • Degas was preparing the first Impressionist Exhibition, 1876
  • Drawn more to rendering the appearance of things with marked economy of means, infusing them with the fresh charm of feminine vision, Mlle Berthe Morisot succeeds marvelously in capturing the intimate presence of a modern woman or child, in the quintessential atmosphere of a beach or grassy lawn.. .We feel as if the charming woman and child are completely unaware that their pose.. ..is being perpetuated in this charming watercolor.
    • Quote of Stéphane Mallarmé 1876, in his essay 'The Impressionists and Edouard Manet'; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 177
  • There is also, as in all famous gangs, a woman. Her name is Berthe Morisot, and she is a curiosity. She manages to convey a certain degree of feminine grace in spite of her outbursts of delirium.
  • There is only one impressionist among the group of revolutionaries Impressionists, and that is Berthe Morisot.. .Her painting has all the freedom of improvisation, truly the 'impression' experienced by a sincere, honest eye, rendered by a hand that does not cheat.
    • Quote of fr:Paul Mantz, in his art-review, in Les Temps, 21 April, 1877
  • She uses pastel with the freedom and charm that Rosalba Carriera first brought to the medium in the eighteenth century.. .Here is a delicate colorist who succeeds in making everything cohere into an overall harmony of shades of white which it is difficult to orchestrate without lapsing into sentimentality.
    • a note of Philippe Burty, April 1877; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 94
  • ..'new charm, infused by feminine vision'
    • Quote of Emile Zola, c. 1877, in his journal: 'Le message de L'Europe'
  • Her watercolors, her pastels, her paintings all show.. ..a light touch and unpretentious allure that we can only admire. Mademoiselle Morisot has an extraordinary sensitive eye..[and].. succeeds in capturing fleeting notes on her canvases, with a delicacy, spirit, and skill that ensure her a prominent place at the center of the impressionists' group.
    • Quote of art-critic Georges Rivière, 1877; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 71
  • [Berthe Morisot] always painted standing up, walking back and forth before the canvas. She would stare at her subject for a long time (and her look was piercing), her hand ready to place her brushstrokes just where she wanted them.. ..[her method was] to start with a light pencil-sketch, to repeat or very the theme in sanguine, to remodel the composition in pastel and, quite often, to carry forward the theme in watercolor and occasionally to carry it to a final culmination in a finished oil.
    • Quote of a friend of Berthe Morisot, 1870's; as cited in Manet and the Sea, ed. J. Wilson-Bareau & David Degener, New Haven, 2003, p. 230
  • Take this book, when violet Dawn
    Rises over the Wood
    To the house of Madame Eugène Manet
    To the road of far-away Villejust, number 40
    • Quote of Stéphane Mallarmé - text on the envelope of his letter to Berthe, c. 1880, from a private collection, Paris; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 215
  • My dear Berthe, I have indeed just received a visit from the dreaded Pissarro who spoke about your next [groups-]exposition. The gentlemen don't seem to be able to agree [the exposing artists]. Gauguin is playing the great dictator. Sisley, who – I also saw, would like to know what Monet should do [participating or not]. As for Renoir, he hasn't yet returned to Paris. I am surprised Eugène [Manet -the brother of Edouard and husband of Berthe] did not remember that it was very cold in Florence – we shivered there for two months once before..
    • Quote from a letter of Manet, 1882; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 209
  • Berthe Morisot is disturbing. In her exquisite works there is a morbid curiosity that astonishes and charmes. Morisot seems to paint with her nerves on edge, providing a few scanty traces to create complete disquieting evocations.
    • Quote of Octave Mirbeau, his comment in 'La France', 21 May 1886; as cited in The New Painting, ed. Charles S. Moffett; Publisher: Univ of Washington Pr; 1st edition (March 1, 1986), p. 460
  • If I may put it in these terms, she [Berthe Morisot] eliminates cumbersome epithets, weightily adverbs, in her clear phrasing: everything is subject and verb; she has a kind of telegrammatic style with sparkling, polished vocabulary..
    • Quote of art-critic Jean Ajalbert, 1890's; as cited in Berthe Morisot, ed. Delafond and Genet-Bondeville, 1997, p. 58
  • [the light] seems to break as if by force through a limpid crystal glass or block of ice. It retains its tender blue, and its green embers, it acquires a fragile brilliance, it radiates with fresh palpitations, shimmering and sparkling.. .The whole canvas is phosphorescent with the great brilliance of marine light pouring in from outside.. ..this clear brilliance that traverses the walls, harmonizes the colors, animates vague forms with strange life, is rediscovered wherever Mme Morisot has left her personal mark.
    • Quote by Gustave Geoffroy, c. 1896; in the Introduction of the catalog of Berthe's Morisot's solo-exhibition; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 183
  • A small woman in white, wearing a delicate knitted cap, looks at herself in a small hand-held mirror; she is sitting on a sofa, also white, silhouetted against a white muslin curtain through which the light passes, playing deliciously over the whole symphony of white, and the effect of the back-lighting creates astonishing shades of gray. Such difficulty overcome with such charm [in the painting 'Jeune Femme au miroir / Young Woman at Her Looking Glass', Berthe Morisot painted in 1876].
    • note of her daughter Julie Rouart, (born as Julie Manet)] from her Journal, written after seeing her mother's painting in 1899 at the Coquet sale; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 74

20th century[edit]

  • Before my eyes, she made a charming portrait of Mlle Marguerite Carré in a pink dress, pale pink, the whole canvas was pale. Berthe Morisot was already very much herself, eliminating shadows and half-tones from the natural scene.. ..She touched her canvas like the bloom of a cheek, treating a millstone, a suburban poplar tree, a mouth, or a tulle scarf all alike.. ..I should like to believe that she perhaps suggested, to Claude Monet or Sisley, that a Parisian view or the landscape around Paris, a garden, a railway bridge, poppies in a pale field of oats.. .. were painterly motifs..
    • Quote by Jaques-Emile Blanche, 1919; in his text 'Les Dames de la Grande Rue'; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 188
  • She wanted it [the studio] not facing north, but full south; the light is diffused through cream-colored blinds; there is not a dark corner to be seen. The daffodils, tulips, and peonies in vases stand out against a bright background, with their transparent flesh, the flat, uniform modeling of objects and faces before a window. Lighting such as this reputedly drains a scene of color; but I do not believe that before Berthe Morisot, any artist deliberately, invariably painted in the absence of effect – by which I mean suppressing the oppositions of shade and half-tones and choosing to highlight a figure by the apposition of color of the same bright value.
    • Quote by Jaques-Emile Blanche, 1919; in his text 'Les Dames de la Grande Rue'; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 188
  • Berthe Morisot's uniqueness way to 'live' her painting, and to paint her life.. ..she took up, put down, returned to her brush like a thought that comes to us, is clean forgotten, then occurs to us once again. It is this that gives her work the very particular charm of a close, almost indissoluble connection between the artist's ideal and the intimacy of an individual life.
    • Quote of Paul Valéry; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 10
  • It is made of nothing, a nothingness multiplied by the supreme art of her touch, the merest touch of mist, a hint of swans, the quick touch of a brush barely rubbing the fabric. This gentle brushing gives us everything: the time of day, the season, and the knowledge, the promptitude which that confers, the great gift of reducing things to their essence, of lightening matter to the extreme and, through that, of taking the impression of the workings of the mind to its highest degree.
    • Quote of Paul Valéry, 1941; as cited in Berthe Morisot, Jean-Dominique Rey; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, pp. 189-190
  • Until her death, when I was sixteen, we were always together [she and her mother Berthe]. I was very spoiled. It was almost as if my mother knew she wouldn't live for very long; she looked after me, painted me and drew me, with all her strength and tenderness.
    • Quote of Berthe's daughter Julie Rouart, (born as Manet), 1959; interviewed by Rosamond Bernier, in 'Dans la lumière impressioniste', in L'Oeil, May, 1959, p. 45
  • It was Corot, [c. 1860-1864] who taught her [Berthe Morisot] to bathe in air her landscapes, her figures, her still-life compositions; it was he who taught her the difficult lesson of understanding values.
    • In: Berthe Morisot, Drawings, by Elizabeth Mongan; Tudor Publishing Company, 1960, p. 48; as quoted by Margaret Sehnan in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. 46
    • fr:Joseph Guichard initiated the contact between Corot and the two young sisters. The Morisot family spent some time in the summer of 1861 in Corot's place in Ville d'Avray
  • Berthe Morisot's place in art history has been shaped by a specific legacy of admiration and family curator-ship.. .. -that her art was truly impressionist because it was so truly 'feminine'-.. ..[so] she was damned by the very terms in which she had once been so enthusiastically acclaimed.
  • ..For all that, Berthe Morisot has been misunderstood. Her life has rapidly taken on the mantle of myth. It is a charming myth, originating with the critic of Théodore Duret, but elaborated by Paul Valéry, the renowned philosopher, critic, essayist and poet and her nephew by marriage. Indeed it is a magical myth, perpetuated by friends, relatives and descendants for the best part of a century.
    • Quote of Margaret Shennan, in her 'Preface', of Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. xiv
  • Edma painted a portrait of Berthe the artist about this time [1860-61]. It is not only a sisterly dedication, it is an important statement. Berthe stands before her easel, her right hand central to the picture, poised to touch her palette with a brush. The pretty round-faced girl had vanished.
    • Quote of Margaret Sehnan in Berthe Morisot, the first lady of Impressionism; Sutton Publishing, 1996 - (ISBN 0 7509 2339 3), p. 49-50
  • A painter of women, and a women herself, Berthe Morisot imbued her female models with all the charm, all the sensuality, all the tender lightness of being that characterize her own vision, communicated through her work.. .It falls to us to recognize that beyond its tender charm and femininity [frequently expressed by art-critics in her time], her work is well structured, constantly searching for greater subtlety of expression; and that its superficial appearance, however delightful and attractive, simultaneously hides and reveals a depth concealed form over-hasty eyes by discretion and diffidence alone.
    • Quote of Jean-Dominique Ray, in Berthe Morisot; translation in English, Flammarion, S.A. (ISBN: 978-2-08-020345-8), Paris, 2016, p. 134

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: