Berthe's modern parisian, 2019,
Acrylic on canvas, 14"x 11" (36 x 28 cm)
Edouard and Nana, 2019,
Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)
In the 1870s, Berthe Morisot started to explore what will become her main theme: daily life of the elegant Parisienne. Her engagement with this motif was innovative : production of modern art, deliberate : she wanted to find Her theme and strategic: the works were popular and would sell! In 1875, she was the only artist, to sell all her lots in the Impressionist Auction at Drouot.
In 1876 she exhibited her first women at their toilette. At the same time, Edouard Manet also engaged in this theme which reflect their mutual exchange of ideas. Although Manet's paintings are more provocative, Morisot was the first among her friends to exhibit this motif. Maybe encouraged by her initiative to cover this evocative subject, in 1877 Degas started to show his women bathing and Manet showed Nana.
Manet presented Nana at the Salon of 1877 and it was refused for immorality, since it depicts a prostitute. The painting was inspired by the character of Nana, created by Emile Zola, who appears for the first time in the novel L'Assommoir (1876) and then in Nana (1880). Edouard Manet was affected by the critics and refusal of the Jury. He decided to show Nana in a window shop in Paris. His friend Edgar Degas declared “'nude models are all right at the Salon, but a woman undressing - never!'
Zola, a realist and defender of the avant-garde artists, wrote, “The most difficult is to make people understand originality in art. Time alone can force people to do justice to original artists. (…) Manet appears what he is in reality, the most original painter of his time, the only one since Courbet”.
Sources : Berthe Morisot Woman Impressionist, 2018
Impressionist Quartet: The Intimate Genius of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt, Jeffrey Meyers, 2005
Degas, An Intimate Portrait, - translation from the French by Randolph T. Weaver; Crown Publishers, New York, 1937
An exhibition of paintings in Paris – Zola, 1875