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Berthe Morisot and Edward Manet
Pierre- Auguste Renoir
Gustave Geffroy in 1894 called them les trois grandes dames of Impressionism. This roughly translates to the three great ladies. He was referring to Mary Cassatt, alongside Marie Bracquemond, and Berthe Morisot. The Impressionists did admit these three women painters into their midst. They exhibited along with the men.
Morisot and Cassatt were especially fortunate. They both came from the upper class, which gave them more resources upon which to rely. They also had very prominent artists watching out for them. Morisot became part of the upper class Manet family. Cassatt was friends with Degas and Pissarro.
Both women had similar subject matter but they did not have much choice in subject matter. There were so many subjects they were not allowed to paint that only a few subjects were left. Both thus used many domestic scenes plus studies of women and children. Their manner of treating that subject was different though which rather matched their life circumstances being different.
Cassatt remained single with no children. Although Cassatt always featured a lot of mothers and children in her work, infants with their mothers came to dominate her work in her later career. She particularly liked leaving the infant nude.
Morisot was married and had one child, Julie. Morisot painted Julie a lot at all ages but tended to paint girls or young women instead of babies. Morisot painted no nude infants. She did venture into painting a nude adult woman though.
Another difference between the two women was that Morisot could paint women in intimate moments which were softly erotic. Cassatt had no soft eroticism in her work. Most of her artistic intimate moments were between mother and child.
One comes to appreciate how fortunate Morisot and Cassatt were in their artistic endeavors when one compares them to Marie Bracquemond. She is often not mentioned as an Impressionist painter but this is because of her controlling husband, Felix.
He disliked her Impressionist art and made sure very little of it survived. Felix Bracquemond was also an artist who was jealous of her ability. His own painting never amounted to anything but he did enjoy some success as a printer in his day.