Portrait of Mme Boursier and Her Daughter (Portrait de Mme Boursier et de sa fille)
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
Berthe Morisot came from a well-to-do family, and her paintings reflect an essentially urban, bourgeois vision of the world. Unable to respectably patronize the evening entertainment venues her male counterparts frequently depicted, she focused on upper-class domestic spaces and the activities typically associated with modern Parisian women. The sitters in this portrait are the artist’s cousins, posed together on a social visit in a room well appointed with floral upholstery, a piano and sheet music, a mirror, and a vase of flowers. Both are fashionably dressed—the mother in a black day ensemble that emphasizes the whiteness of her skin and a hat trimmed with ostrich feathers (which were sourced from Africa at this time), and her daughter in a trimmed jacket with flowers or ribbons in her hair. Quick, unblended brushstrokes summarily define the scene while simultaneously foregrounding the materiality of paint itself.
Morisot was a core member of the group of mid-nineteenth-century artists who began to explore themes of contemporary life and leisure using loose brushwork and bright colors to capture the experience of vision and the fleeting effects of light. They came to be known as Impressionists and organized eight independent exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 to promote their art.
Oil on canvas
29 5/16 x 22 3/8 in. (74.5 x 56.8 cm)
Frame: 36 3/4 x 30 x 2 1/2 in. (93.3 x 76.2 x 6.4 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower left: "Berthe Morisot"
Museum Collection Fund
By June 1873, acquired from the artist by Durand-Ruel, Paris, France; June 1873, purchased from Durand-Ruel by Alfred Stevens of Paris; between 1906 and 1919, provenance not yet documented; November 7, 1919, exhibited at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris "Cent Oeuvres de Berthe Morisot no 73; between 1919 and 1927, provenance not yet documented; before 1927, acquired by Therèse Boursier Hitier and Auguste Hitier of Paris, France; November 1927, purchased from Auguste Hitier by M. Knoedler & Co.; January 18, 1929, purchased from M. Knoedler and Co., no. 17018, by the Brooklyn Museum.
Berthe Morisot (French, 1841-1895). Portrait of Mme Boursier and Her Daughter (Portrait de Mme Boursier et de sa fille), ca. 1873. Oil on canvas, 29 5/16 x 22 3/8 in. (74.5 x 56.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 29.30 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 29.30_PS9.jpg)
overall, 29.30_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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