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Berthe Morisot French

Not on view

Morisot’s younger sister Edma posed for this painting of a woman seated casually in a meadow, engaged in the act of reading. Ephemeral details contribute to the informality of the scene, from the discarded umbrella and fan to the glints of sunlight on the figure’s dress. Delicate accents of color are used for the dress pattern and, similarly, to indicate blossoms and highlights in the grass, a characteristic feature of landscapes by Morisot’s early teacher Camille Corot. In 1874, this painting was featured in the groundbreaking first Impressionist exhibition, where it was titled La lecture. Contemporaries took note of Morisot’s deft, open brushwork, and indeed the Impressionist group came to be strongly identified with a non finito aesthetic.

Reading, Berthe Morisot (French, Bourges 1841–1895 Paris), Oil on fabric

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