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Berthe Morisot Quotes
Dawit Abeza
Berthe Morisot Quotes

Berthe Morisot Quotes

“He [ Manet ] begged me to go straight up and see his painting [ 'Le Balcon'] - Berthe was a model for this painting], as he was rooted to the spot. I've never seen anyone in such a state, one minute he was laughing, the next insisting his picture was dreadful; in the next breath, sure it would be a huge success.” ― Berthe Morisot

“The tall fellow Bazille has done something I find quite fine: a young girl [in his painting 'View on the village' ] in a very light dress in the shadow of a tree beyond which one sees a town. There is a good deal of light, sunlight, He is trying to do what we [Berthe and her sister Edma] have so often tried to bring off: to paint a figure in the open air. This time I think he has succeeded.” ― Berthe Morisot

“He [Manet] came about one o'clock [the day for submitting works for The Paris Salon of 1870]. he found it [ 'Reading', Berthe's double-portrait of her mother with her pregnant sister Edma] very good, except for the lower parts of the dress. He took the brushes and put in a few accents.. ..mother was in ecstasies. That is where my misfortune began. Once started, nothing could stop him, from the skirt he went to the bust, from the bust to the head, from the head to the background. He cracked a thousand jokes, laughed like a madman, handed me the palette, took it back; finally by five o'clock in the afternoon we had made the best caricature you have ever seen.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I will achieve it only [being an artist] by perseverance, and by openly asserting my determination to emancipate myself, [but].. ..I both lament and envy your [Edma's] fate. Bichette [her niece] helps me to understand maternal love; she comes onto my bed every morning and plays so sweetly.. ..life gets more complicated by the day here now I am gripped by the desire to have children, that' all I need.” ― Berthe Morisot

“During the day I received a visit from Puvis de Chavannes; he saw what I had done [painted in 1869-70 in Lorient] and didn't seem to think it was too bad...The Manet's [the brothers Eduard and Eugene Manet] came to see us [Berthe and her mother] Tuesday evening, we visited the studio; to my great surprise and satisfaction, I received the highest praise. it seems that what I do is decidedly better than Eva Gonzalès. Manet is too candid, and there can be no mistake about it. I am sure that he liked these things a great deal; however, I remember what Fantin says, namely, that Manet always approves of the painting of people whom he likes.” ― Berthe Morisot

“The stories of the Manet brothers [ Edouard and her future husband Eugène Manet ] tell about all the horrors we are likely to face, they [in Paris, during the war between France and Germany] are almost enough to discourage even the bravest of us. [But] you know they [the Manet brothers] always exaggerate, and at the moment they see everything in the blackest possible light.” ― Berthe Morisot

“It seems to me a painting [she is working on] like the one I gave Manet ['The Harbour at Lorient'] could perhaps sell, and that is all I care about.” ― Berthe Morisot

“He [ Manet ] holds up that eternal Mademoiselle Gonzales as an example; she has poise, perseverance, she can get her things finished whereas I am incapable of doing anything properly. In the meantime, he [Manet] has started her portrait again, for the twenty-fifth time. She poses every day, and every night he rubs out the head.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I have found an honest and excellent man [ Eugène Manet, brother of Edouard Manet ] who, I believe, sincerely loves me. I have entered into a positive life after having lived for a long time in by chimeras.” ― Berthe Morisot

“If you read some of the Parisian newspapers, among others the 'Figaro', so beloved of the right-thinking public, you must have learned that I am part of a group of artists who opened a private exhibition [in the art-gallery of Durand-Ruel in Paris, April 1876]. You must also have seen what favor this exhibition enjoys in the eyes of these gentlemen [Berthe refers to the critical articles in Paris with all their mockery about her works]. On the other hand, we have been praised in the radical newspaper, but you don't read those [her aunts]! Well, at least we are getting attention, and we have enough self-esteem not to care. My brother-in-law Edouard Manet is not with us [Manet didn't participate in this first Impressionist show, initiated by Degas ]. Speaking of success, he [Manet] has just been rejected by the Salon; he, too, is perfectly good-humored about his failure.” ― Berthe Morisot

“The love of art....reconciles us to our lined faces and white hear.” ― Berthe Morisot

“The touch, sure and light [is] fixing something of the passing moment.. ..memory is the true, imperishable life, that which has sunk without trace and been forgotten was not worth experiencing, the sweet hours, and the great and dread, are immutable. Dreams are life itself – and dreams are more true than reality; in them, we behave as our true selves – if we have a soul it is there.” ― Berthe Morisot

“It is odd that Edouard [Manet] with his reputation as an innovator, who has survived such storms of criticism, should suddenly be seen as a classicist. It just proves the imbecility of the public, for he has always been a classic painter.” ― Berthe Morisot

“This project [an Impressionist exhibition in Paris] is very much up in the air. Degas' perversity makes it almost impossible of realization; there are clashes of vanity in this little group [of impressionists] that make any understanding difficult. It seems to me that I am the only one without any pettiness of character. This makes up for my inferiority as a painter.. ..the truth is that our value [of woman] lies in feeling, in intuition, in our vision that is subtler than that of men, and we can accomplish a great deal provided that affectation, pedantry, and sentimentalism do not come to spoil everything.” ― Berthe Morisot

“Edgar Degas was the organizing force of most Impressionist exhibitions; this one never took place..scumbled froth.. ..capable of indicating a mouth, eyes, a nose with a single stroke of the brush, the rest of the face modeled by the perfect accuracy of these indications.” ― Berthe Morisot

“As I admired it [a red pencil and chalk drawing by Degas of a young mother, nursing her child] he showed me a whole series done from the same model and with the same sort of rhythm. He is a draughtsman of the first order; it would be interesting to show all these preparatory studies for a painting to the public, which generally imagines that the impressionists work in a very casual way. I do not think it possible to go further in the rendering of form.” ― Berthe Morisot

“He [Renoir] is a subtle and brilliant draughtsman.. ..all these preliminary drawings [in Renoir's studio] would astonish the public who obviously imagine the 'Impressionists' work at tremendous speed. I don't believe one can go further [in making sketches as studies] than this in the study of form in a drawing. I am charmed by his 'Nude Bathers' quite as much as those by Ingres. He [Renoir] tells me that he thinks the nude is absolutely indispensable as an art form.” ― Berthe Morisot

“His [ Edouard Manet's] paintings, as they always do, produce the impression of a wild or even a somewhat unripe fruit. I do not in the least dislike them.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I wear myself out trying to render the orange trees so that they're not stiff but like those, I saw by Botticelli in Florence. It's a dream that won't come true.” ― Berthe Morisot

“A love of nature is a consolation against failure.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I do not think any man would ever treat a woman as his equal, and it is all I ask because I know my worth.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I have sinned, I have suffered, I have atoned.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I have sinned, I have suffered, I have atoned.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I love only extreme novelty or the things of the past.” ― Berthe Morisot

“In love, there's sentiment and passion; I know the only sentiment through myself, passion through others. I hear certain voices I know say: sentiment equals love of the intellect; I can answer: passion equals the love of the body.” ― Berthe Morisot

“It is important to express oneself... provided the feelings are real and are taken from your own experience.” ― Berthe Morisot

“I wear myself out trying to render the orange trees so that they're not stiff but like those, I saw by Botticelli in Florence. It's a dream that won't come true.” ― Berthe Morisot

“Men are inclined to believe that they fill all of one's life, but as for me, I think that no matter how much affection a woman has for her husband, it is not easy for her to break with a life of work.” ― Berthe Morisot

“My ambition is limited to the desire to capture something transient, and yet, this ambition is excessive.” ― Berthe Morisot

“Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.” ― Berthe Morisot

“There I found Manet, with his hat on in bright sunlight, looking dazed. He begged me to go and see his painting, as he did not dare to move a step.” ― Berthe Morisot

“To catch the fleeting moment—anything, however small, a smile, a flower, a fruit—is an ambition still unfulfilled.” ― Berthe Morisot

Quotes About Berthe Morisot

“She uses pastel with the freedom and charm that Rosalba Carriera first brought to the medium in the eighteenth century...Here is a delicate colorist who succeeds in making everything cohere into an overall harmony of shades of white which it is difficult to orchestrate without lapsing into sentimentality.” ― Philippe Burty


“Her watercolors, her pastels, her paintings all show.. ..a light touch and unpretentious allure that we can only admire. Mademoiselle Morisot has an extraordinary sensitive eye.[and].. succeeds in capturing fleeting notes on her canvases, with a delicacy, spirit, and skill that ensures her a prominent place at the center of the impressionists' group.” ― Georges Rivière

“Berthe Morisot is disturbing. In her exquisite works, there is a morbid curiosity that astonishes and charmes. Morisot seems to paint with her nerves on edge, providing a few scanty traces to create complete disquieting evocations.” ― Octave Mirbeau

“If I may put it in these terms, she [Berthe Morisot] eliminates cumbersome epithets, weightily adverbs, in her clear phrasing: everything is subject and verb; she has a kind of telegrammatic style with sparkling, polished vocabulary.” ― Jean Ajalbert

“[the light] seems to break as if by force through a limpid crystal glass or block of ice. It retains its tender blue, and its green embers, it acquires a fragile brilliance, it radiates with fresh palpitations, shimmering and sparkling...The whole canvas is phosphorescent with the great brilliance of marine light pouring in from outside.. ..this clear brilliance that traverses the walls, harmonizes the colors, animates vague forms with strange life, is rediscovered wherever Mme Morisot has left her personal mark.” ― Gustave Geoffroy

“Before my eyes, she made a charming portrait of Mlle Marguerite Carré in a pink dress, pale pink, the whole canvas was pale. Berthe Morisot was already very much herself, eliminating shadows and half-tones from the natural scene...She touched her canvas like the bloom of a cheek, treating a millstone, a suburban poplar tree, a mouth, or a tulle scarf all alike...I should like to believe that she perhaps suggested, to Claude Monet or Sisley, that a Parisian view or the landscape around Paris, a garden, a railway bridge, poppies in a pale field of oats.... were painterly motifs.” ― Jaques-Emile Blanche

“Berthe Morisot's uniqueness way to 'live' her painting, and to paint her life.. ..she took up, put down, returned to her brush like a thought that comes to us, is clean forgotten, then occurs to us once again. It is this that gives her work the very particular charm of a close, almost indissoluble connection between the artist's ideal and the intimacy of an individual life.” ― Paul Valéry

“It is made of nothing, a nothingness multiplied by the supreme art of her touch, the merest touch of mist, a hint of swans, the quick touch of a brush barely rubbing the fabric. This gentle brushing gives us everything: the time of day, the season, and the knowledge, the promptitude which that confers, the great gift of reducing things to their essence, of lightening matter to the extreme, and, through that, of taking the impression of the workings of the mind to its highest degree.” ― Paul Valéry

“Berthe Morisot's place in art history has been shaped by a specific legacy of admiration and family curator-ship.. .. -that her art was truly impressionist because it was so truly 'feminine'-...[so] she was damned by the very terms in which she had once been so enthusiastically acclaimed.” ― Griselda Pollock

“For all that, Berthe Morisot has been misunderstood. Her life has rapidly taken on the mantle of myth. It is a charming myth, originating with the critic of Théodore Duret, but elaborated by Paul Valéry, the renowned philosopher, critic, essayist, and poet and her nephew by marriage. Indeed it is a magical myth, perpetuated by friends, relatives, and descendants for the best part of a century.” ― Margaret Shennan

“Edma painted a portrait of Berthe the artist about this time [1860-61]. It is not only a sisterly dedication, it is an important statement. Berthe stands before her easel, her right hand central to the picture, poised to touch her palette with a brush. The pretty round-faced girl had vanished.” ― Margaret Shennan

“A painter of women, and a woman herself, Berthe Morisot imbued her female models with all the charm, all the sensuality, all the tender lightness of being that characterize her own vision, communicated through her work...It falls to us to recognize that beyond its tender charm and femininity [frequently expressed by art-critics in her time], her work is well structured, constantly searching for greater subtlety of expression; and that its superficial appearance, however delightful and attractive, simultaneously hides and reveals a depth concealed form over-hasty eyes by discretion and diffidence alone.” ― Jean-Dominique Ray

“Berthe Morisot's uniqueness was to ''live'' her painting, and to paint her life... she took up, put down, returned to her brush like a thought that comes to us, is clean forgotten, then occurs to us once again..” ― Paul Valery

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