Berthe Morisot

French, 1841-1895

Femme cousant (Woman Sewing)

Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895). Femme cousant (Woman Sewing), ca. 1879. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 21 1/2 inches (65.4 x 54.6 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Fellows for Life Fund, 1926 (1926:1). 

Public Domain

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Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Femme cousant (Woman Sewing), ca. 1879

Artwork Details

Collection Highlight

Materials

oil on canvas

Measurements

support: 25 3/4 x 21 1/2 inches (65.405 x 54.61 cm); framed: 34 3/8 x 29 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches (87.31 x 75.56 x 8.89 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Credit

Fellows for Life Fund, 1926

Accession ID

1926:1

One of the few female painters associated with Impressionism, Berthe Morisot created a niche for herself with instinctive paintings of domestic life. She mainly painted intimate portraits of women and children rendered in a delicately harmonious color palette. At a young age, her mother encouraged her to develop her talent. Morisot spent hours at the Louvre copying Old Master paintings, and she studied under Barbizon painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, who persuaded her to paint outdoors. During the early 1860s, Morisot became friends with Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883) and began showing in the Salon. In 1874, she was invited to exhibit in the first Impressionist exhibition and ultimately participated in seven of the Impressionists’ eight group exhibitions. Woman Sewing depicts a female figure in profile whose head is bowed while absorbed in her work. She performs this apparently routine, unselfconscious activity silhouetted against the backdrop of a distinctly bourgeois interior. This resplendent composition embodies the quintessential traits of Impressionist painting—a quotidian subject, a seemingly unprompted composition, rapid brushwork, and a unifying light that rakes across the canvas, weaving in and out of colored daubs.

French Impressionism