National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Mother and Sister of the Artist Berthe Morisot (artist)
French, 1841 - 1895
The Mother and Sister of the Artist, 1869/1870
oil on canvas
overall: 101 x 81.8 cm (39 3/4 x 32 3/16 in.) framed: 128.3 x 108.6 cm (50 1/2 x 42 3/4 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
1963.10.186
On View
From the Tour: Edgar Degas
Object 6 of 7

Berthe Morisot told her mother that she would "rather be at the bottom of the sea" than for this picture to appear at the Salon. Her reluctance stemmed from the "assistance" of her friend and future brother-in-law Edouard Manet, leader of the avant-garde, whose advice she had solicited. Calling at her home, Manet took up a brush, and as Morisot described in a letter: "...it isn't possible to stop him; he passes from the petticoat to the bodice, from the bodice to the head, from the head to the background."

In the mother's face and dark costume Manet's strong, broad brushstrokes are discernible. For both artists, however, the appearance of paint on the canvas, more than the illusion of reality, is of greatest interest. This picture, after having been accepted at the Salon, was probably seen again in the first impressionist exhibition in 1874. Unlike Manet, Morisot embraced the outdoor painting and spontaneity of impressionism, participating in all but one of the eight impressionist exhibitions.

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