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  • Berthe Morisot
    Jan 14, 1841 – Mar 2, 1895
  • Peasant Girl among Tulips - Berthe Morisot was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. Undervalued for over a century, possibly because she was a woman, she is now considered among the first league of Impressionist painters. In 1864, she exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris.
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Peasant Girl among Tulips
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  • Peasant Girl among Tulips

  • Berthe Morisot
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  • 1890
    Oil on canvas
    64.2 cm (25.28 in.) x 71.7 cm (28.23 in.)
    Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee, United States.

    In 1890, Morisot, her ailing husband, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Julie, spent half the year in Mézy, a village in the French countryside, where they hoped the fresh air would help restore Eugène’s health. Morisot painted Peasant Girl among Tulips that spring, seeing in the sturdy features of a French peasant girl, believed to be named Gabrielle Dufour, the fragile beauty of a tulip. Morisot consciously rhymed the swirling brushwork in the girl’s unadorned dress with the swirling forms of the tulip leaves. The wisps of hair curling away from her face are like spent tulip petals about to fall to the ground. Even the girl’s delightful oval face is shaped like a tulip blossom. Her hands, stained brown from working in fields, connect her to the rural French countryside, a virtuous place capable of producing lovely flowers and lovely young girls.

    The first recorded owner of Peasant Girl among Tulips was Tadamasa Hayashi, a Japanese art dealer who is often credited with introducing Japanese woodblock prints to Western Europe. From Hayashi, the painting entered the collection of renowned art collector and connoisseur Théodore Duret, one of the most influential voices in Paris. Duret befriended several of the leading artists of the late nineteenth century and was the subject of portraits by both édouard Manet and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. His Manet and the French Impressionists was one of the earliest writings on the subject, illuminating the movement for people in France as well as England and the United States.

    Peasant Girl among Tulips came into the Dixon collection in 1981, when it was purchased by our first director, Michael Milkovich. Twenty-seven years later, in 2008, we received a special companion for this painting, a sketch of the same subject by Morisot’s daughter, Julie Manet (pictured below). While her mother sketched and then painted this hardworking young woman, Julie, then just twelve years old, sat nearby and sketched the girl herself, using colored pencils to create a scene almost identical to that of her mother. Employing the same technique of quickly applying soft color in bold strokes, the Impressionist progeny proved her inherent talent and sensitivity to subtle changes in color seen that made her mother so successful as an artist.

    Why settle for a paper print when you can add sophistication to your rooms with a high quality 100% hand-painted oil painting on canvas at wholesale price? Order this beautiful oil painting today! that's a great way to impress friends, neighbors and clients alike.

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Other paintings by Berthe Morisot:

The Bath
The Bath
The Cage
The Cage
A Summer's Day
A Summer's Day
Aboard a Yacht
Aboard a Yacht
Berthe MorisotBorn January 14, 1841, in Bourges, France. Berthe Morisot’s father was a high-ranking government official and her grandfather was the influential Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She and her sister Edma began painting as young girls. Despite the fact that as women they were not allowed to join official arts institutions, the sisters earned respect in art circles for their talent.

Berthe and Edma Morisot traveled to Paris to study and copy works by the Old Masters at the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s under Joseph Guichard. They also studied with landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot to learn how to paint outdoor scenes. Berthe Morisot worked with Corot for several years and first exhibited her work in the prestigious state-run art show, the Salon, in 1864. She would earn a regular spot at show for the next decade.

In 1868, fellow artist Henri Fantin-Latour introduced Berthe Morisot to Édouard Manet. The two formed a lasting friendship and greatly influenced one another’s work. Berthe soon eschewed the paintings of her past with Corot, migrating instead toward Manet’s more unconventional and modern approach. She also befriended the Impressionists Edgar Degas and Frédéric Bazille and in 1874, refused to show her work at the Salon. She instead agreed to be in the first independent show of Impressionist paintings, which included works by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. (Manet declined to be included in the show, determined to find success at the official Salon.) Among the paintings Morisot showed at the exhibition were The Cradle, The Harbor at Cherbourg, Hide and Seek, and Reading.

In 1874, Berthe Morisot married Manet's younger brother, Eugène, also a painter. The marriage provided her with social and financial stability while she continued to pursue her painting career. Able to dedicate herself wholly to her craft, Morisot participated in the Impressionist exhibitions every year except 1877, when she was pregnant with her daughter.

Berthe Morisot portrayed a wide range of subjects—from landscapes and still lifes to domestic scenes and portraits. She also experimented with numerous media, including oils, watercolors, pastels, and drawings. Most notable among her works during this period is Woman at Her Toilette (c. 1879). Later works were more studied and less spontaneous, such as The Cherry Tree (1891-92) and Girl with a Greyhound (1893).

After her husband died in 1892, Berthe Morisot continued to paint, although she was never commercially successful during her lifetime. She did, however, outsell several of her fellow Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. She had her first solo exhibition in 1892 and two years later the French government purchased her oil painting Young Woman in a Ball Gown. Berthe Morisot contracted pneumonia and died on March 2, 1895, at age 54.