This paper addresses Berthe Morisot's painting, View of Paris from the Trocadero, completed in 1872, and now in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, as an example of the contributions and participation women had to the development of French Impressionism in the 1860s and early 1870s. These points will be made through a brief introduction to her early training and artistic contacts and in the conceptual, stylistic and technical analysis of the above mentioned painting in relation to one by Camille Corot, who had a significant influence on her mature style.
Berthe Morisot (1841-95) was an important active and innovative member of the French Impressionist group. She joined them in 1874, not only as an artist, but also an energetic organizer of exhibitions and a friend, particularly of Manet. Her early training was more academically oriented. In 1856-57, Morisot starts attending drawing lessons with Geoffroy-Alphonse Chocarne, but in 1858 she and her sister Edma left to study under Joseph-Beno Guichard, a pupil of Ingres and Delacroix. In the same year they registered as copyists in the Louvre, copying Veronese and Rubens (Rewald 593). Her big change came in 1861 when she met the influential landscape painter Camille Corot (1796-1875), who introduced her to other artists and teachers, and taught her the concept of plein air (open air) painting. She subsequently began painting on site and in the open air. A good comparison of Corot's influence on her style is his Landscape at Limay, which has many similarities to her many small paintings, such as the cityscape entitled View of Paris from the Trocadero, using this approach to produce, either finished works or studies for larger works that she would complete in the studio. Morisot's work, with its luminous palette, open brushwork, impasto application, and sense of immediacy in conception, was painted in a more typically Impressionist style. In 1864, Morisot's submitted two landscape paintings to the Paris...
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