Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the impressionists as parents: Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot, who at the age of 33 had married Edouard Manet's brother Eugene, found herself unable to become pregnant for some time. This was difficult in particular for both her sisters were mothers. She wrote to her sister Edma, "I am horribly depressed tonight, tired, on edge, out of sorts, having once more the proof that the joys of motherhood are not for me." At last, at age 37, she bore her daughter Julie. She had hoped for a boy but fell deeply in love with her little girl who was "like a kitten, always happy."

Julie later recalled her "artistic and tender mother." She wrote a diary published about twenty years ago called Growing Up with the Impressionists. How fascinating to have a life where Renoir was always dropping in and asking the pretty Julie to model!

The painting is Julie Manet and Her Greyhound Laertes by her mother Berthe Morisot.

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