Overview

In an 1876 review, a sarcastic critic referred to participants in the second Impressionist exhibition as "five or six lunatics—among them a woman—a group of unfortunate creatures." Berthe Morisot is the woman to whom he alluded. Morisot, an original member of the group, showed in seven of its eight exhibitions and contributed financially to sustain the impressionist movement. The Mother and Sister of the Artist, one of Morisot's largest works, was exhibited at the Salon of 1870 and perhaps again in 1874 at the first Impressionist exhibition.

The painting, a family portrait and an intimate domestic genre scene, was begun when Morisot's sister Edma Pontillon stayed with her family in the winter of 1869–1870 to await the birth of her first child, a pregnancy discreetly disguised by Edma's loose white morning robe. Anxious about sending the painting to the Salon, Morisot solicited Manet's advice, and on the last day for submissions he visited the Morisot home. Morisot's correspondence reveals that, rather than offer verbal suggestions, Manet extensively repainted the figure of the artist's mother. Manet's suave shorthand, seen in the mother's features and black dress, differs obviously from the nervous refinement of Morisot's touch in her sister's features, the floral upholstery, and the reflections in the mirror over Edma's head.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Mme Pontillon, sister of the artist, Paris; her daughter, Mme Forget, Paris; (Paul Rosenberg, Paris); sold 15 May 1930 to Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1870
Salon of 1870, Paris, no. 2039
1874
Possibly Première Exposition, Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculptuers, Graveurs, etc. [First Impressionist Exhibition], Paris, 1874, no. 105, as La Lecture
1919
Cent Oeuvres de Berthe Morisot, Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris, 1919, no. 5
1929
Berthe Morisot, Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris, 1929, no. 27
1931
Portraits of Women Loan Exhibition: Romanticism to Surrealism, Museum of French Art, New York, 1931, no. 17, as Portrait, Mme. Morisot and her daughter, Mme. Pontillon.
1935
L'Impressionisme, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1935, no. 50
1965
The Chester Dale Bequest, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1965, unnumbered checklist.
1986
The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1986 [shown in Washington only]
2010
From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 2010-January 2012, unnumbered catalogue, repro.

Bibliography

1925
Fourreau, Armand. Berthe Morisot. Paris, 1925:33, repro.
1941
_Catalogue of French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 10, repro. pl. XVIII
1942
_French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 47, repro.
1944
_French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1944: 47, repro.
1952
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 158, color repro.
1953
_French Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1953: 55, repro.
1957
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in Art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. London, 1957 (reprinted 1959): pl. 99.
1959
Rouart, Denis, ed. The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot. London, 195740+
1961
Bataille, Marie-Louise and Georges Wildenstein. Berthe Morisot: Catalogue des peintures, pastels et aquarelles. Paris, 1961: no. 20, repro.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 258, repro.
1965
_Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings & Sculpture of the French School in the Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 87, repro.
1965
_Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 94
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:428, color repro.
1968
_European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 83, repro.
1973
Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1973:241, repro.
1975
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 248, repro.
1975
Munsterberg, Hugo. A History of Women Artists. New York, 1975:53, repro.
1976
Petersen, Karen and J.J. Wilson. Women Artists: Recognition and Reappraisal From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. New York, 1976:90, repro.
1978
Fine, Elsa Honig. Women & Art: A History of Women Painters and Sculptors from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. London, 1978:124+, repro.
1978
King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 87, pl. 52.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 456, no. 659, color repro.
1985
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 286, repro.
1986
Buettner, Stuart. "Images of Modern Motherhood in the Art of Morisot, Cassatt, Modersohn-Becker, Kollwitz." Woman's Art Journal 7, no. 2 (Fall 1986-Winter 1987):16+, repro.
1986
Garb, Tamar. Women Impressionists. New York, 1986:62, repro.
1991
Gingold, Diane J. and Elizabeth A.C. Weil. The Corporate Patron. New York, 1991: 163, color repro.
1992
Higonnet, Anne. Berthe Morisot's Images of Women. Harvard University Press, 1992:67, repro.
1992
Langer, Cassandra. Mother and Child in Art. New York, 1992
1992
_National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 187, repro.
1993
Denisoff, Dennis. "The Rare Space of the Female Artist: Impressionism in Audrey Thomas's Latakia." Mosaic: The Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 26, no. 4 (Fall 1993):79, repro.
1995
Nord, Philip. The Republican Moment: Struggles for Democracy in Nineteenth-Century France. Harvard University Press, 1995:repro
1998
Faxon, Alicia Craig. "Reading." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography. 2 vols. Edited by Helene E. Roberts. Chicago and London, 1998: 2:768.
1998
Gersch-Nešic, Beth. “Pregnancy." In Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art. Edited by Helene E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago, 1998: 2:754.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 380, no. 313, color repro.

Technical Summary

null

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum