In a Villa at the Seaside (1874)
painting 39 of 176 by Berthe Morisot
Information about painting
Morisot’s introduction to Edouard Manet in about 1868 was the beginning of a close friendship that lasted until Manet’s death fifteen years later. This painting is one of two in which Morisot recorded the holiday she spent with the Manet family on the English Channel in the summer of 1874. During this holiday she accepted the marriage proposal of Eugène Manet, the younger brother of the painter.
The painting underscores Morisot’s free and confident handling of the brush, and her luminous tonal harmonies. The seated figure is the artist’s sister, whose dark blue skirt is trimmed with white-edged flounces like so many little waves. There is an abrupt juxtaposition of foreground and background which heightens the sense of enclosure and privacy in spite of the open vista. The bold geometric composition offers a striking contrast to the soft, silvery green and blue color harmonies.