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An older woman wearing a long black dress sits reading a book in front of a younger woman wearing cream white, who sits on a couch just beyond, in this vertical portrait painting. The scene is loosely painted with some visible brushstrokes, especially in the furniture, clothing, and room. Both women have pale skin and wear dresses with long sleeves and skirts. To our right, the older woman sits in a chair with a curved back, which runs parallel to the right edge of the canvas. The full skirt of her black dress angles down across the picture, almost spanning the bottom edge of the composition. Her gray hair is pulled back and covered by a black cloth or veil, which falls to her shoulder and blends with her dress. The collar is lined with a white ruffle, and white lace cuffs encircle her wrists. Her face is painted with rosy tones. She looks down at her book with dark eyes, and her rose-pink lips are closed. She wears a gold ring with a light stone on her left ring finger, and the book she holds has a moss-green cover. Her skirt overlaps the younger woman sitting nearby on the couch, which runs along the back wall of the room. The young woman’s knees are angled to our left but she looks slightly back to our right, to gaze down and into the distance with brown eyes. Her skin is paler, but she has lightly flushed cheeks and her petal-pink lips are also closed. An azure-blue bow is tied in her chestnut-brown hair. A few tendrils fall down her back and over one shoulder. Her dress falls loosely over her torso and legs. She wears a gold ring on her left hand and a gold bracelet on that wrist. She fingers a piece of lapis-blue fabric in one hand. The couch behind her has a pattern with stylized flowers or leaves floating within rose-pink ribbons that hang in swags, against a white background. Pillows patterned with ruby red, sky blue, and fawn brown peek out from behind the young woman. A round or oval wooden table with curving legs to our left holds a glass vase with a violet-purple flower, perhaps a hydrangea. A slip of paper or envelope sits on the table next to the vase. The wall behind the couch is fog gray, and the bottom edge of a gold frame hangs behind the young woman.

Berthe Morisot, The Mother and Sister of the Artist, 1869/1870, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Collection, 1963.10.186

Morisot and Sheeler

Break for Art

  • Saturday, August 5, 2023
  • 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
  • West Building, Main Floor - Rotunda
  • Talks
  • In-person

Join us for gallery talks with National Gallery interns. This session includes two dynamic presentations reflecting diverse artistic styles and time periods: Berthe Morisot’s The Mother and Sister of the Artist (1869/1870) and Charles Sheeler’s Classic Landscape (1931).