Berthe Morisot: A Biography

Anne Higonnet, Author
Anne Higonnet, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-016232-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
A founder of impressionism, Berthe Morisot (1840-1895) painted ``safely feminine'' themes--family or friends, domestic interiors, vacation spots, parks. In the bourgeois, sexist world of 19th-century France, ``it would have been unthinkable for her to paint the kinds of brothel scenes Degas did, or even pictures of train stations like Manet's,'' writes Higonnet, a Wellesley art professor. Yet Morisot, a strong-willed pioneer, brought to her analytical scenes a distinctly feminine point of view, portraying women in moments of self-awareness. This luminous biography shows what Morisot had to overcome to be an artist, and how much she accomplished. Her marriage to Eugene Manet, brother of famed painter Edouard, provided stability. At 37 Morisot gave birth to Julie, soon to figure in the artist's sensitive explorations of the mother-daughter relationship. Higonnet's class-conscious, feminist group portrait of the impressionist circle is on-target. Illustrations. (May)
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