In Reading, an 1873 painting by Berthe Morisot, Morisot tackles a subject previously explored by Claude Monet and Pierre-Augusta Renoir: a contemporary woman in a park, enjoying a leisure activity. Featured here is Morisot's sister Edma. Edma wears a light, gauzy summer gown of the latest cut. A straw hat with a trailing scarf perched on the top of her head, an open fan, and a parasol complete her ensemble. Critics praised Berthe Morisot's Reading as graceful, confident, and even witty.
Morisot's art depicts the world of the bourgeois, their clothes, their lifestyle, their surroundings, and her relationships. Through her unusual talent, the modern viewer can see the usual, everyday life led by the nineteenth century bourgeoisies.
In the last decades, several art historians have focused upon Berthe Morisot's depiction of women within the clearly delineated roles and physical spaces which were acceptable for bourgeois women during the nineteenth century. Most of the physical spaces were either associated with the upper middle class home such as drawing rooms as depicted in Portrait of Me Boursier and her Daughter, balconies, In a Villa at the Seaside, and private gardens as in Woman and Child in a Garden. Morisot also painted outdoor scenes, which were places that respectable bourgeoisies frequented such as parks and scenic overlooks (View of Paris from the Trocadero, 1872), or modes of transport, which enclosed women such as boats, and carriages, A Summer's Day, 1879. These interiors and exteriors represented the settings in which most bourgeoisies lived their lives. As a member of this class, Berthe Morisot would herself have spent time in these locales and there would have chosen to paint her subjects.
Morisot's style continued to develop in her later years, her brother-in-law, friend and mentor, Eduard Monet, died in 1883. After his death, Berthe Morisot came under the influence of Renoir.
While concentrating on a more limited range of subjects (notably domestic and garden scenes) than many of her male colleagues in the Impressionist movement, Morisot made a discreet but decisive contribution through her influence on Monet during the 1870s, her efforts on behalf of the Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886, and her own audacious adaptation of its formal innovations.
Major aspect of the feminist project the theorization/ p. 56: and historical analysis of sexual difference. Difference is not essential but understood as a social structure which positions male and female people asymmetrically in relation to language, to social and economic power and to meaning. Feminist analysis undermines one bias of patriarchal power by refuting the myths of universal or general meaning. Sexuality, modernism and modernity cannot function as given categories to which we add women. That only identifies a partial and masculine viewpoint with the norm and confirms women as other and subsidiary. Sexuality, modernism or modernity are organized by and organizations of sexual difference. To perceive women's specificity is to analyses historically a particular configuration of difference.
On closer examination, it is much more significant how little of typical impressionist iconography actually reappears in the works made by artists who are women. They do not represent the...