Painting With The Girls 58
February 27, 2016
Day 58 (308 days to go)
Berthe and Edma Moriset decided that their lessons with Chocarne were tedious. Their older sister Yves chose sewing over drawing. Their mother switched them to a painter named Joseph Guichard, who lived just down their street. In 1857, after a few painting lessons with his new students, Guichard introduced Berthe and Edma to the Louvre Museum in Paris. During the first year, they learned by looking at paintings and then later by copying them. At that time, it was common knowledge that any aspiring painter had to go to the Louvre and copy the old Masters.
In the book Berthe Morisot, Anne Higonnet writes, “Berthe worked from Titian, Veronese and Rubens, indicating a decided preference for those models then considered primary colorists. On the days set aside for copying, the halls of the Louvre were thronged with painters young and old, both man and women. For if virtually all “original” professional painters were then men, many women made their living copying masterpieces, not as lessons but as products for sale. The Louvre was the most open art school of all, a place where students of many persuasions could watch and meet each other. All the copyists’ work was out on their easels, proclaiming their interests and their talent. For Edma and Bertha, trained in seclusion, the Louvre meant exposure not only to painting’s history but suddenly to the other art student’s of Paris.”
By 1860, Berthe Morisot had decided she was not satisfied with her teacher Guichard, and she wanted to paint outdoors. Berthe Morisot painted “plein air” (outside), before any of the future Impressionists.
Berthe Morisot was only nineteen when she and her sister were introduced to Camille Corot. He very much liked painting on the banks of the Oise River, near their house, and was the kind of teacher who gave them their own creative space. It might have been because they were young ladies, and he didn’t want to impose his own view too strongly on them. Corot was known by the Parisian avant-garde for challenging the art standards of the Académie des Beaux Arts.
The Morisot family was happy to have Corot, along other artists, writers and musicians, as part of their social soirees. They held these every Tuesday, so that their daughters could advance in their careers and social lives.