MORISOT Berthe (1871 ; 1895)
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 61 cm ; l. 50 cm (sans cadre) ; H. 73 cm ; l. 63.5 cm ; E. 3.5 cm ; VOLUM. 0,0162 (avec cadre)
legs Rouart Annie (testateur) (1993)
Of the five known self-portraits of Berthe Morisot, four depict her with her daughter Julie and in her role as mother. The self-portrait in the Musée Marmottan Monet is the only version in which Berthe portrayed herself alone as a painter. This unique painting springs from the great tradition of artists’ self-portraits. Morisot’s likeness stands out from a neutral background; the bust is seen in three-quarters view and the face straight on, her gaze staring in the direction of the viewer. In her right hand, she is holding a palette and brush, the attributes of her art. In a society where the fine arts school was off limits to young ladies and practicing painting was considered a leisure activity for women and not a profession, Berthe Morisot’s picture stands as a profession of faith. She presents herself here as the alter ego of her male colleagues with whom she regularly exhibited her work, foremost among them Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir.