Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the closeness of sisters: Edma and Berthe Morisot

There were three Morisot sisters, daughters of an upper middle-class family in Paris, but it was the two younger, Edma and Berthe, who grew up as painters together, studying with Corot and copying at the Louvre. When Edma married Adolphe Pontillon and moved to Brittany, the separation was painful. Edma wrote: "I am often with you in my thoughts. I follow you everywhere in your studio and wish that I could escape, if only for a quarter of an hour, to breathe again that air in which we lived." The unmarried Berthe, then 28, replied, "Remember it is sad to be alone." Berthe did not marry until five years later; she had watched household responsibilities seep away the talent from her less-driven sister and vowed it would not happen to her.

Portrait of Edma Morisot by her sister Berthe

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