The Artist’s Sister at a Window is an 1869 painting in the Academic style by the leading female French artist Berthe Morisot. This work is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.
The Artist’s Sister at a Window Analysis
The Artist’s Sister at a Window (1869) is an oil painting by Berthe Morisot, one of the so-called ‘three great ladies’ of Impressionism. This is not, however, an Impressionist artwork; it belongs to Morisot’s conventional, academic phase, and it appears as a kind of autobiographical genre painting. It takes place in the crucial year of 1869, when Morisot, having destroyed the majority of her earlier creations, began to study the en plein air technique and experiment with watercolor.
Pictured in this instance is her sister Edma, sitting in an armchair by an open balcony window and looking at a Japanese fan in her hands as if she were lost in thought. The peculiar nature of Edma’s mood in this scene is a crucial point of interest. As her mind appears to be somewhere beyond the circumstance in which she is pictured, we naturally wonder what it is that she is thinking of.
At the time of painting The Artist’s Sister at a Window, Berthe Morisot would have been visiting her sister at her new home following her recent marriage. This is the period in which Edma is expecting her first child and when she gives up painting to pursue her family life.
That Edma has artistic taste we may evince from her self-exposure to natural light for the act of meditation and for her study of a Japanese fan (a recherché object), and also from her elegant pure-white dress. We realize she lives in a fashionable urban area as we observe people across the street holding conversations from the balconies of the palatial residences.
The Artist’s Sister at a Window Location
This work is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.