Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
No sales tax is due on the purchase price of this … Read more Property formerly in the Collection of Janice Levin, Sold to Benefit The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation*
Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)

Jeune fille étendue

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
Jeune fille étendue
stamped with signature 'Berthe Morisot' (Lugt 1826; lower left)
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 32¼ in. (65.6 x 81.9 cm.)
Painted in 1893
Estate of the artist.
M. Gorce, Paris.
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie, Paris (acquired from the above, November 1929).
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above, April 1946).
Sam Salz, Inc., New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Philip Levin, New York (acquired from the above, April 1968).
Gift from the above to the present owner, 2001.
M. Angoulvent, Berthe Morisot, Paris, 1933, p. 147, no. 568 (illustrated; titled Sur la chaise longue).
M.-L. Bataille and G. Wildenstein, Berthe Morisot, Catalogue des peintures, pastels et aquarelles, Paris, 1961, p. 46, no. 340 (illustrated, fig. 339).
A. Higgonet, Berthe Morisot's Images of Women, Cambridge, 1992, pp. 242-143, no. 103 (illustrated).
A. Clairet, D. Montalant, and Y. Rouart, Berthe Morisot, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Montolivet, 1997, p. 282, no. 343 (illustrated).
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, October-November 1930, no. 18.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists, October-November 1934, no. 15.
London, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., Berthe Morisot, Madame Eugène Manet, May-June 1936, no. 9.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, October-November 1939, no. 2.
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Collects, July-September 1968, p. 17, no. 134.
Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, and South Hadley, Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Berthe Morisot, Impressionist, September 1987-May 1988, pp. 163-164, no. 96 (illustrated in color).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, A Very Private Collection: Janice H. Levin's Impressionist Pictures, November 2002-February 2003, p. 16, no. 3 (illustrated in color).
The Birmingham Museum of Art and elsewhere, An Impressionist Eye: Painting and Sculpture from the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, February 2004-January 2005.
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Lot Essay

Charles Stuckey and William Scott have called Jeune fille étendue "the most successful of all [Morisot's paintings] in evoking the semi-awareness of a dream" (exh. cat., op. cit., 1987-1988). The sense of introspection in the present painting is highly characteristic of Morisot's later period, when she painted solitary, beautiful young women in the rooms of her new apartment on the rue Weber in Paris. Visual details such as the glowing ambient light, the sitter's white dress, and the Empire chaise longue heighten the atmosphere of dream-induced withdrawal. Addressing the role of reverie in the present painting and in Morisot's art in general, Stuckey and Scott have written: "Although Morisot's art often portrayed her immediate surroundings, family members, and friends, the goal of her ostensibly mundane pictorial ideas was to record the experience of reverie that transcends routine appearances" (ibid.).

In the present painting, Morisot departs from her earlier portrayals of women in diverse social situations. In addition to this change in subject matter, her formal approach transformed during the 1890s. Citing "the definition of the girl's right arm and the generally less broken application of paint" as examples, Richard Shone has addressed the visual strength and cohesion of Jeune fille étendue. Moving away from the "milky tonality" of her works of the 1880s, writes Shone, Morisot "began to strengthen her line, amplify her forms, and define contours more clearly" (op. cit., p. 80).

The blonde model in the present painting has been identified as Jeanne Fourmanoir, who Morisot probably hired on the advice of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Renoir had employed her a year earlier for the seated figure in Jeune filles au piano of 1892 (coll. Musée d'Orsay, Paris). The two painters had been friends since 1885, and by the 1890s, they visited and corresponded with each other on a regular basis. Renoir's letters from 1893 convey his friendly affection for Morisot; he jokingly appointed himself her "family advisor" (quoted in D. Rouart, The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, New York, 1959, p. 175) and declared his eagerness to visit her new home. "I have waited to come to see your new establishment," he wrote in the weeks following her move. "I shall find you still unsettled" (quoted in ibid.).

The present painting is the largest of three related images that Morisot painted of Fourmanoir in the drawing room. Morisot executed a closely-cropped preliminary pastel drawing for Jeune fille étendue to refine the model's features. The full-length version, entitled Sur la chaise longue (Clairet et al, no. 355; Private Collection), provides a setting for the daydreaming woman and reveals the object of her attention: a painting on the opposite wall. Anne Higgonet has described Sur la chaise longue as a work that departs from the artist's earlier depictions of reclining women. "This time" states Higgonet, "the subject gazes at an image of Julie playing the violin, rather than at the artist" (op.cit., p. 242).

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