March 5, 2016

Painting With The Girls 65

March 5, 2016.

Day 65, (301 days to go)

White Cat on Japanese Rug

Postcard watercolor, collage 5X7 Matted

Part III

Edma and Berthe Morisot continued to paint at the Louvre. In 1864, they decided they were ready to submit their work to the Salon. This was a prestigious event held every spring in Paris and judged by professional luminaries, mostly members of the Academy or other official art institutes. Even Corot, their teacher, had been rejected many times in his youth.

Berthe was accepted in 1865 for the first time, and subsequently almost every year after that. As both sisters continued to paint at the Louvre with their mother chaperoning them, they inevitably acquainted themselves with many fellow painters, such as Edouard Manet, who was introduced to them in 1868 by their friend Fantin-Latour.  A great friendship between the two families developed.

The Manets and the Morisots were alike in many ways. Anne Higonnet writes in Berthe Morisot, “Both mothers were pillars of grand-bourgeois domesticity: model wives, mothers, and hostesses. Their children were about the same age and had cultural interests in common. The 1868 encounter was therefore as much one between two compatible families as between Berthe Morisot and Édouard Manet.”

The soirees took place in the homes of both families and allowed the sisters to meet a large number of painters and other new acquaintances. These gatherings were where new ideas and trends came to life.

A year after meeting the Manets, Edma got married to Adolphe Pontillon, changing forever her relationship with Berthe, who felt very lonely, insecure and abandoned. It took Berthe a long time to readjust.

Many letters were exchanged between them in which Edma seemed to reminisce about her life as a painter while Berthe discussed her own situation as a young, single woman.

They both realized that marriage and maternity were not really compatible with a career in painting.

Berthe became a closer friend to Eduard Manet, who expressed his opinions about her work, sometimes putting in final touches or telling her that her work looked unfinished.

In letters to her sister, Berthe explained how submitting her work to the Salon in 1870 caused her to feel accomplished professionally, but at the same time, miserable and anxious because she was not sure of herself.