Listening to Art, by William Denton.
Volume six, number five: Eugène Manet and His Daughter in the Garden at Bougival by Berthe Morisot.
Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.
Berthe Morisot was French, and lived from 1841 to 1895. Like Mary Cassatt, whose work we heard in the previous issue, she was an Impressionist painter, but Morisot was there from the start, exhibiting with them from 1874.
The subject of this work can be guessed from its title. Eugène Manet was Morisot’s husband; he was a painter also, and the brother of the more famous Édouard Manet. The daughter, Julie, is also Morisot’s.
The time when this painting was made is described in Berthe Morisot: The First Lady of Impressionism by Margaret Shennan (pp. 202–203):
In the late spring or early summer of 1881 the Eugène Manets moved into a rented house with a large, enclosed garden at 4 rue de la Princesse in the picturesque township of Bougival. It was the fashionable thing to do. Once a popular bathing spot like Gennevilliers, Bougival was linked by the railway with Paris and was becoming a riverside commuter town. Renoir was there that summer and chose it as the setting for his Luncheon at Bougival (more popularly known as The Luncheon of the Boating Party). The Cassatts meanwhile were staying in a villa nearby at Marly-le-Roi. Like Bougival it was close to Versailles, where Edouard, Suzanne and Maman Manet had taken a furnished house in the Avenue Villeneuve-d’Etang from the end of June. Berthe found her holiday productive, for out of it came some twenty drawings and paintings. Her former model, Milly, posed on the grass with a sunshade, wearing a pale blue gown. But most of her Bougival pictures were intimate family pictures, painted in the sunlit garden: golden-haired Julie pulling a toy or playing a game at her father’s knee while Eugène, pensive, hands in pockets, absent-mindedly watched over her; the new nurse, Pasie, with pale face and auburn hair, sitting in a shady corner by the house, quietly sewing. They are pictures full of colour, a gamut of greens, hot, earthy pinks and cool blues; mature trees filtering the sun’s rays; a cobalt garden bench here, a sandy path, a straw hat there; a quiet conservatory; shuttered windows; bushes ablaze with roses, and clumps of hollyhocks.
This is a painting, oil on canvas, 92 cm wide by 73 cm high.
Now let’s listen to Eugène Manet and His Daughter in the Garden at Bougival by Berthe Morisot, recorded at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, on 16 July 2019.
That was Eugène Manet and His Daughter in the Garden at Bougival by Berthe Morisot. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.
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