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Impressionism and Its Overlooked Women: Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Marie Bracquemond, Eva Gonzalès and Marie Bashkirtseff

The 150th anniversary of the first impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874 is celebrated at Ordrupgaard with a magnificent exhibition highlighting the women of impressionism – both behind and in front of the canvas. The exhibition features four female impressionists and their interconnected world of sisters, daughters, and friends through what is incontestably regarded as major works of this period. Due to their gender and class, these artists did not have the same opportunities to depict the pulsating city life enjoyed by their male colleagues. Instead, their focus was on modern life as it unfolded in the home and gardens of Paris and the surrounding area. These intimate motifs were depicted in a radical fashion using bright colours, quick brushstrokes, and a sketch-like technique, which elicited both admiration and indignation from viewers and art critics alike. The exhibition traces the women’s struggle for recognition and a place in art history, examining in more detail their pioneering contribution to the emergence of modern art.

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Berthe Morisot, The Psyche Mirror, 1876. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. (Photo: Business Wire)

With exceptional loans from around the world, visitors will experience main works by Berthe Morisot (1841–1895) and Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), both of whom are well-known, as well as Marie Bracquemond (1840–1916), Eva Gonzalès (1849–1883), and Marie Bashkirtseff (1858–1884) who, until now, have been off the radar. Marie Bashkirtseff did not belong to the impressionists as such, but in her diary, ’Journal de Marie Bashkirtseff’, published posthumously in 1887, she described the conditions of female artists at the time.

Additionally, the exhibition features key works by Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir inasmuch as they portray female models. The exhibition directs focus at several of the women overlooked by history, immortalised in several of impressionism’s most iconic paintings: from the coloured models in Manet’s and Degas’s pictures to the numerous members and friends perpetuated in the female artists’ canvases. The exhibition seeks not only to examine the technique used to paint these women but also to look at their identity, which unleashes new narratives and overlooked perspectives on impressionism and its actors.

This is the first showing of works by Bashkirtseff and Bracquemond in Denmark and, likewise, bringing together the leading artists in the exhibition is a first of its kind in Scandinavia. We show 57 paintings loaned by 34 lenders from 10 countries.

Press meeting, 9 Feb, 10–12.

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