Berthe Morisot (French, 1841-1895)
oil on fabric, Framed - h:74.29 w:100.33 d:12.06 cm (h:29 3/16 w:39 1/2 d:4 11/16 inches)
Unframed - h:46.00 w:71.80 cm (h:18 1/16 w:28 1/4 inches). Gift of the Hanna Fund 1950.89
The fashionable woman seated in the foreground is the artist's sister, Edma. However, the painting is not a portrait. Morisot's principal concern was to render a figure in a natural, outdoor environment. Edma's white dress-the prime vehicle for Morisot's study of reflected light-is saturated with delicate lavender, blue, yellow, and rose tonalitites. Deftly executed with quick brushstrokes, the painting resounds with a feeling of freshness, vibrancy and delicate charm. "Every day I pray that the Good Lord will make me like a child," Morisot wrote, "That is to say, that He will make me see nature and render it the way a child would, without preconceptions."
Morisot, the great granddaughter of the 18th-century French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, selected this painting as one of her four works shown in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874.