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Berthe Morisot Paperback – June 8, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A founder of impressionism, Berthe Morisot (1840-1895) painted "safely feminine" themes--family or friends, domestic interiors, vacation spots, parks. In the bourgeois, sexist world of 19th-century France, "it would have been unthinkable for her to paint the kinds of brothel scenes Degas did, or even pictures of train stations like Manet's," writes Higonnet, a Wellesley art professor. Yet Morisot, a strong-willed pioneer, brought to her analytical scenes a distinctly feminine point of view, portraying women in moments of self-awareness. This luminous biography shows what Morisot had to overcome to be an artist, and how much she accomplished. Her marriage to Eugene Manet, brother of famed painter Edouard, provided stability. At 37 Morisot gave birth to Julie, soon to figure in the artist's sensitive explorations of the mother-daughter relationship. Higonnet's class-conscious, feminist group portrait of the impressionist circle is on-target. Illustrations.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Higonnet, an art historian whose dissertation on Morisot was researched with the help of the artist's descendants, here presents a well-written, sometimes eloquent biography of the Impressionist artist. She argues that Morisot developed a strategy to portray "a feminine visual culture" in an "extremely daring unfeminine career while making minimal personal sacrifices." Morisot's personality emerges clearly with the help of material from unpublished sources; women friends are discussed along with family. Specialists will find fault with some rash comments, but overall this is a well argued and convincing study. To moderate Higonnet's hyperbole, serious collections should also acquire Charles F. Stuckey and others' Berthe Morisot--Impressionist (Hudson Hills Pr., dist. by Rizzoli, 1987). Recommended.
- Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Tow son State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 8, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520201566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520201569
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first reaction to Anne Higonnet's biography of Berthe Morisot was that it was a bit stiff. I had recently read Dominique Bona's "Berthe Morisot: Le secret de la femme en noir" and found that book to be well done, even though lacking documentation and even though indulging in "maybe it was like this" speculations from time to time. But I very much liked Dominique Bona's informal style, referring to Berthe Morisot as "Berthe", while Anne Higonnet almost always refers to her as "Morisot" (a small issue but one that is quite representative of the stylistic difference in the two biographies).
Of course, Anne Higonnet's work is more than 10 years older than Dominique Bona's, so that Dominique Bona reaped the benefits of reading Anne Higonnet's book. And there are many benefits to be had. Anne Higonnet has done a superb job of researching direct and indirect and even background sources to fill in the picture of Berthe Morisot's life and setting.
Sometimes Anne Higonnet's presentation creates a distance: emotional connection is lost amid the cultural history. But overall, this is a fascinating "MUST" book for anyone who wants to understand Berthe Morisot's painting, persona, and life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Berthe was obviously an anomaly in her day and age... and, being self-deprecating and reticent, might've actually wished to be forgotten. She WAS literally forgotten for many years after her death. I am grateful to Ms. Higonnet for writing the book, but I felt throughout the reading that, although it was obvious Ms. H. admired Berthe, she didn't truly understand her. It bothered me that most of the book was about OTHER people, although her life DID seem to be about OTHER people. Berthe was generous and hidden, yet daring and "out there." It was probably very difficult to find the true Berthe. She was obviously very much beloved by the other Impressionists and her contributions as the catalyst of the group were immeasurable. But I wanted to know more. I didn't like it that each time she had an accomplishment, it seemed to be overshadowed, in the biography, by moving on to the accomplishments of one of the other more luminous figures in her world. Berthe was beautiful, dedicated, a wonderful mother and wife... after years of pressure by society and her own parents whose biggest fear was that she was to stay a "spinster" (who the HECK invented that word???)... I really felt for Berthe. But was she bulimic? Was she anorexic? What WAS the true nature of her mental challenges? I'd like to have seen some more of that area explored - as it has been so deeply investigated in the case of Vincent van Gogh. Whatever her maladies, we've got to admire the fact that she, unlike Mary Cassatt, DID have it all - career, family, home life, social recognition... and balanced it all so beautifully. But I wished Ms. Higonnet had given us just a bit more to grasp onto.
Comment 13 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
beautifully written - highly recommend
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Helped me in my college art class
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By A Customer on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
GREAT BOOK!! I bought this book used from That Book Lady,
I recieved the book promptly and it was in excellent condition.
The book has wonderful information on Berthe Morisot.
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