Being a bit of an art historian, I've long since surpassed the juvenile infatuation I once had with French Impressionists, preferring for the more obscure Dadaists, color theorists, and pop artists. But as I've been prepping for a shiny new power-point version of my previously antiquated methods of teaching art history (we only got a projector last year in the art room), I was reintroduced to a few lesser seen images by secondary characters among the motley crew from Paris.
One is this painting called "In the Dining Room" by Berthe Morisot. I've always liked her, but first believed her to be a somber, melancholy woman who was isolated in a world of men, as depicted by the image of her sister in "The Cradle." I now see that she was strong in her femininely directed subject matter and was greatly accepted for her honest depictions and for painting what she saw, just like all the other impressionists did.
I love the color, which is not too soft, but still a bit ethereal, the pink, glowy skin, and the halo around every edge. There's also something about those impressionists who, while influence by Japanese woodcuts, found other ways to emphasize edge without outlining it. And the inclusion of a bit of black in this color palette ensures she is not washed out, instead is anchored in her surroundings, her home. She may be only in the dining room, but she belongs there, and fits there.
I also recently read a fictional novel (that took some broad liberties in her relationship with her colleague and husband's brother, Edouard Manet) in which I fell in love with Morisot as a real person. Sometimes women in art are either ignored, or falsely elevated, due to their being a woman, but it was nice to see this little story, however fictional, told from her perspective at the turn of the century in France.
(On a side note, I am selling this book on Amazon, a recent habit I've gotten into as I've had much time to read this summer and the used books are piling up. I'd be glad to send it your way, just go here.)
And did you know that Morisot was the great neice of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot? Goodness this girl painted in some high society company! I'm not crazy about Corot and his landscapes, but the man was a genius, after all.
Another artist I've had my eye on is Childe Hassam. Stay tuned, maybe I'll blog about him a bit later.
Do you get excited about art? Old or new? What have you seen lately that excites you?