After nearly 30 years without a major exhibition in the US, a key Impressionist painter is the subject of a monographic exhibition this fall. Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist is the result of a collaboration between the Barnes Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris.
Despite being a founding member and leading artist in the Impressionist movement, Morisot is often overshadowed in art history by her now more famous male contemporaries. Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir are household names, while Morisot has remained more obscure. This exhibition seeks to reassert her place in art history as an essential member of this movement with a huge influence on modern art.
The nearly 70 paintings in the exhibition show the evolution of Morisot’s skill and the development of her impressionistic style. Moving from working indoors to en plein air, her brushstrokes become looser, more interpretive, and her paintings look less and less finished, an expressive quality valued by Impressionists, who sought to honestly capture the moment, rather than focusing on perfect realism. Morisot’s paintings also give us an unprecedented look into the real lives of women of her time. Her portraiture often shows domestic life, intimate family moments, and the importance of women’s fashions, shedding light on areas that have historically not been the subject of paintings.