Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Berthe Morisot at Auction and at The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

Christie's 2017

 ‘Berthe Morisot stands unrivalled’. This was the emphatic response from a critic upon seeing Morisot’s work at the Second Impressionist exhibition of 1876. 

Berthe Morisot, Femme en noir, 1875, estimate: £600,000-800,000

Painted a year earlier, Femme en noir  also known as Avant le théâtre, was most likely included in this important exhibition. Depicting an elegant and fashionably attired young woman making her way to the theatre, this painting is one of only a few full-length portraits in Morisot’s oeuvre and is undoubtedly one of the most-celebrated works of her career. While Morisot and her Impressionist colleagues frequently depicted fashionably dressed women at the theatre or opera, seated in private boxes or presented against ornate backdrops, in the present work, the artist has removed all background detail, placing the model within an ambiguous setting. The viewer is then forced to focus solely on the figure herself – her expression, her costume and her idiosyncratic demeanour. With this unusual setting, Morisot has achieved a particularly novel and enigmatic vision of a woman.

In many ways a breakthrough work of the artist’s early career, Morisot held Femme et enfant au balcon (1872, estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000) in such high regard that she executed a small copy of it in watercolour, which now resides in the Art Institute of Chicago. This was a particularly rare practice for Morisot who was dedicated to the spontaneous depiction of the world around her. By the time that she painted Femme et enfant au balcon, Morisot had grown extremely close to Édouard Manet who played a vital role in her early career, providing crucial encouragement in moments of uncertainty as she forged an independent identity as an artist. Exemplifying the artist’s nascent Impressionist style – she was a founding member of the Impressionist group and exhibited with them in all but one of the group exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 – Femme et enfant au balcon is composed with a combination of spontaneous, softly feathered brushwork and areas of fine, exquisite detail.

Sotheby's 2013

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 605,000 USD

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 1,865,000 USD

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 4,365,000 USD

Berthe Morisot
Estimate 1,800,0002,500,000 USD

Berthe Morisot
Estimate 250,000350,000 GBP

Sotheby's 2012

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 506,500 USD

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 37,500 USD
Berthe Morisot
Lote. Vendido 218,500 USD 

Sotheby's 2011

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 182,500 USD
Sotheby's 2009

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 842,500 USD

Sotheby's 2007

Berthe Morisot
LOT SOLD. 937,000 USD 


Christie's 2012

Christie's 2011



Christie's 2009


Christie's 2007



Christie's 2004

Christie's 1999

National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)