Camille Pissarro / Bather with Geese / 1895Camille Pissarro
Bather with Geese

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Creator Name: Pissarro, Camille
Creator Dates/Places: French, 1830 - 1903
Creator Name-CRT: Camille Pissarro
Title: Bather with Geese
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1895
Creation End Date: 1895
Creation Date: 1895
Object Type: Drawings and Watercolors
Materials and Techniques: Pen, ink, lead white gouache, paper
Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/2 x 8 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (19.05 x 20.95 x 3.81 cm.)
AMICA Contributor: Dallas Museum of Art
Owner Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
ID Number: 1985.R.43
Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
Context: Berthe Morisot and her husband, Eugène Manet (the brother of Edouard Manet), spent the cold winter months of 1881-1882 in the Mediterranean port of Nice at the fashionable Hôtel Richmond, where the artist practiced her technique on the most shifting of subjects - the harbor. Although brisk, the weather was warm enough to allow her to work out-of-doors or, at the very least, from her hotel window, as the wonderful light of the French Riviera inspired her to trap its effects on the water in paint. This small painting is among the most successful of the several she made on that campaign, and the artist chose it for inclusion in the penultimate impressionist exhibit of 1882. The paint was barely dry on the canvas when she had it framed and took it to the galleries, where it hung almost like a watercolor amid larger and bolder works by her male colleagues."The Port of Nice" is a study in modesty and apparent carelessness. Its strokes, of varying dimensions, textures, and lengths, force the viewer to think of the representation "as" a painting. Many of her strokes, especially those in the large area of the water, refuse to "represent" anything other than themselves, suggesting that the water was too choppy to reflect the buildings, boats, or riggings. The boldest and most fundamental decisions made by Morisot were about composition, and they were clearly made before she even began to paint. First, she decided to downplay the sky, preferring to study the effect of light on form. Second, she decided to push the boats and buildings into a band at the top of the painting. This led her to order the area of the water by placing the bow of the boat as it enters the water directly at the center of the composition. Hence, the composition is controlled and deliberate, even though it appears to be random.Morisot's achievements as a painter can be set into relief when one compares this small canvas with the almost exactly contemporary painting by Georges Seurat in the Reves Collection. [see Dallas Museum of Art, 1985.R.68] Whereas Seurat's painting is stiffened with an apparent rigor of composition, Morisot's seems inchoate. Yet, just the opposite is true: not a single line or form is placed in a geometrical manner in Seurat's painting, whereas Morisot's canvas is held together with a rigorous logic. For Morisot, the "touch" was informal and the composition was formal. For Seurat, the opposite was true."Impressionist Paintings Drawings and Sculpture from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection," page 81
AMICA ID: DMA_.1985.R.43
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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