Berthe Morisot
(Bourges, 1841-1895, Paris)
Madame Albine Sermicoli in the Studio, 1889
Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm
Studio stamp lower right
Clairet 245
Berthe Morisot, Manet’s sister-in-law, made a charmingly delicate contribution to Impressionism. Her solid bourgeois background did not prevent her from measuring her talent as a painter against those of brilliant teachers and friends. Her artistic development is determined by Corot at the beginning, by Manet in her middle period – he too was torn between bourgeois respectability and the life of art – and by Renoir in her later years. The theme of her work is the human being in his intimate milieu of family, house and garden. The freedom and the lightness of her lively brushwork invest this narrow world with the relaxed atmosphere of Impressionism. Fearing to dissolve objects too much in the play of light, at the end of the 1880s she began to subject her brush to more formal control. An example of this is the portrait of Madame Sermicoli on the chaise longue, done in 1889.