Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Young Woman Knitting

Berthe Morisot (French, Bourges 1841–1895 Paris)
ca. 1883
Oil on canvas
19 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. (50.2 x 60 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), 1967
Accession Number:
Not on view
Morisot, who exhibited with the Impressionists between 1874 and 1886, painted a number of figures out-of-doors in which she tried to achieve the same informal and spontaneous appearance as her watercolors and pastels. The light palette and the modelling of form through touches of color in this work of about 1883 are characteristic.
Inscription: Stamped (lower left): Berthe Morisot
[possibly Galerie E. Druet, Paris, in 1905]; probably Charles Henraux, Paris; possibly Durand-Ruel (by 1924); Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York (by 1936–d. 1967; on loan to MMA from 1936)
Paris. Galerie E. Druet. "Exposition Berthe Morizot [sic]," January–February 1905, no. 4 (as "Jeune femme," probably this picture).

Pittsburgh. Carnegie Institute. "Exhibition of Paintings: Édouard Manet, Pierre Renoir, Berthe Morisot," October 15–December 1, 1924, no. 6 (as "Young Lady Sitting in a Garden," lent by Durand-Ruel, possibly this picture).

New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Berthe Morisot," November 3–December 10, 1960, no. 37 (as "Jeune fille cousant dans un jardin," lent by Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot).

Brunswick, Maine. Bowdoin College. 1967, no catalogue? (lent by Adelaide Milton de Groot).

Omaha. Joslyn Art Museum. "Mary Cassatt Among the Impressionists," April 10–June 1, 1969, no. 37.

Birmingham Museum of Art. "Birmingham Festival of Arts Honoring France," March 16–April 12, 1973, no cat. number.

Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "Berthe Morisot," June 19–November 19, 2002, no. 71.

Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Art and the White House: Presidential Selections 1960–2000," November 19, 2004–January 23, 2005, unnum. brochure.

Paris. Musée Marmottan. "Berthe Morisot 1841–1895," March 8–July 29, 2012, no. 45 (as "Jeune femme cousant dans le jardin" and dated 1883).

Harry B. Wehle. "A Loan of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 31 (October 1936), p. 209.

Berthe Morisot. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1960, unpaginated, no. 37, ill., mistakenly publishes provenance, exhibitions, and bibliography for another painting (Bataille and Wildenstein 1961, no. 158).

M[arie].-L[ouise]. Bataille and G[eorges]. Wildenstein. Berthe Morisot: Catalogue des peintures, pastels, et aquarelles. Paris, 1961, p. 32, no. 142 bis, fig. 812.

Alain Clairet, Delphine Montalant, and Yves Rouart. Berthe Morisot, 1841–1895: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Montolivet, 1997, p. 184, no. 144, ill., mistakenly states that it was exhibited at Wildenstein, New York, in 1936.

Hugues Wilhelm in Berthe Morisot, 1841–1895. Ed. Sylvie Patry, Hugues Wilhelm, and Sylvie Patin. Exh. cat., Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille. Paris, 2002, pp. 260–61, ill. (color), dates it 1883; compares it to Cassatt's works of the early 1880s.

Marianne Mathieu in Berthe Morisot 1841–1895. Exh. cat., Musée Marmottan Monet. Paris, 2012, pp. 138, 142–43, no. 45, ill. (color) [English ed., 2012], states with this painting Morisot pushed her technique to the "edge of 'abstraction'" and calls it one of her most "avant-garde works"; notes that with the sitter's facial features nearly erased, we cannot know her identity and that the garden has not been identified; emphasizes its true subject as the study of light; notes that Morisot's attraction to knitting and sewing as subjects was in keeping with the limitation on her interests to pastimes of young women "from good families," as opposed to true images of the working world.

This work has occasionally been confused with A Woman and Child in a Garden, a painting of about 1883–84 that was formerly in the collection of Morisot's cousin Gabriel Thomas, which was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (NG 2269), in 1964. The Edinburgh picture was included in the exhibition "Réunion d'oeuvres par Berthe Morisot (1841–1895)," held at Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Paris, from June 20 until July 8, 1922, as no. 37 ("Jeune femme cousant"), as well as in "Berthe Morisot (1841–1895)," held at the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, in the summer of 1941, as no. 50 ("Jeune femme cousant"); the MMA painting did not feature in either exhibition. The painting in Edinburgh was published in Bataille and Wildenstein 1961 as no. 158 ("Jeune fille cousant dans un jardin") and Clairet, Montalant, Rouart 1997 as no. 161 ("Jeune fille cousant dans un jardin," with the mistaken inclusion of details that pertain exclusively to the MMA picture, notably de Groot in the provenance and New York 1960 under Exhibitions).
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