Marie Bracquemond

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Marie Bracquemond
c. 1886
Marie Anne Caroline Quivoron

(1840-12-01)1 December 1840
Died17 January 1916(1916-01-17) (aged 75)
Sèvres, Paris, France
Known forPainting
(m. 1869; died 1914)

Marie Bracquemond (née Quivoron; 1 December 1840 – 17 January 1916) was a French Impressionist artist. She was one of four notable women in the Impressionist movement, along with Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), and Eva Gonzalès (1847-1883). Bracquemond studied drawing as a child and began showing her work at the Paris Salon when she was still an adolescent. She never underwent formal art training, but she received limited instruction from Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) and advice from Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) which contributed to her stylistic approach.

She married noted printmaker Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914), who helped popularize Japanese art in France. Together, they produced ceramic art for Haviland & Co., a manufacturer of Limoges porcelain. Marie's frequent omission from books on artists is sometimes attributed to the efforts of her husband.[1] Although Félix participated with the Impressionist exhibitions, he notably disapproved of the movement at which his wife excelled.[2] Indeed, Pierre Bracquemond, their son, stated that his father was jealous of Marie's work, belittled her ambition, and refused to show her paintings to visitors.

Marie participated in three out of the eight major Impressionist exhibitions, submitting her work to the fourth (1879), fifth (1880), and eighth (1889) group showings. During her lifetime as an artist, Bracquemond produced at least 157 original works, of which only 31 have been located and catalogued in existing collections today, with the rest having disappeared into various private collections without record.[3] Her only two solo exhibitions were held after her death.[1] Some of her most famous works include The Lady in White (1880), On the Terrace at Sèvres (1880), Afternoon Tea (1880), and Under the Lamp (1887).[4]

Early life[edit]

She was born Marie Anne Caroline Quivoron on 1 December 1840[5] in Argenton-en-Landunvez, near Brest, Brittany. She did not enjoy the same upbringing or career as the other well-known female Impressionists – Cassatt, Morisot, Gonzalès.[6] She was the child of an unhappy arranged marriage. Her mother, Aline Hyacinthe Marie Pasquiou, pursued her life with Émile Langlois, and thereafter they led an unsettled existence, moving from Brittany to the Jura, to Switzerland, and to Limousin, before settling in Étampes, south of Paris.[7] She had one sister, Louise, born in 1849 while her family lived near Ussel (department Corrèze in Limousin) in the ancient abbey Notre-Dame de Bonnaigue.

She began lessons in painting in her teens under the instruction of M. Auguste Vassor, "an old painter who now restored paintings and gave lessons to the young women of the town".[7] She progressed to such an extent that in 1857 she submitted a painting of her mother, sister and old teacher posed in the studio to the Salon which was accepted. She was then introduced to the painter Ingres who advised her[8] and introduced her to two of his students, Flandrin and Signol.

The critic Philippe Burty referred to her as "one of the most intelligent pupils in Ingres' studio".[9] As a student in Ingres' private Parisian studio, she wrote that, "The severity of Monsieur Ingres frightened me ... because he doubted the courage and perseverance of a woman in the field of painting ... He would assign to them only the painting of flowers, of fruits, of still lives, portraits and genre scenes."[10]

She later left Ingres' studio and began receiving commissions for her work, including one from the court of Empress Eugenie for a painting of Cervantes in prison. This evidently pleased, because she was then asked by the Count de Nieuwerkerke, the director-general of French museums, to make important copies in the Louvre.[7]


It was while she was copying Old Masters in the Louvre that she saw Félix Bracquemond, who fell in love with her. His friend, the critic Eugène Montrosier, arranged an introduction and, from then, she and Félix were inseparable. They were engaged for two years before marrying on 5 August 1869,[8] despite her mother's opposition.[7] In 1870, they had their only child, Pierre.[8] Because of the scarcity of good medical care during the War of 1870 and the Paris Commune, Bracquemond's already delicate health deteriorated after her son's birth.[7] Much of what is known of Bracquemond's personal life comes from an unpublished short biography authored by her son, entitled La Vie de Félix et Marie Bracquemond.[6]


Marie Bracquemond, Woman Painting at the Easel, Undated. Engraving, 31.5 x 24.8 cm.

Félix and Marie Bracquemond worked together at the Haviland studio at Auteuil where her husband had become artistic director. She designed plates for dinner services and executed large tile panels (once known as faience) depicting Les Muses des arts (The muses of the arts), which were shown at the Universal Exhibition of 1878.[7] The work is now considered lost.[1]

She began having paintings accepted for the Salon on a regular basis from 1864.[11] As she found the medium constraining, her husband's efforts to teach her etching were only a qualified success. She nevertheless produced nine etchings that were shown at the second exhibition of the Society of Painter-Etchers at the Galeries Durand-Ruel in 1890. Her husband introduced her to new media and to the artists he admired, as well as older masters such as Chardin. She was especially attracted to the Belgian painter Alfred Stevens. Between 1887 and 1890, under the influence of the Impressionists, Bracquemond's style began to change. Her canvases grew larger and her colours intensified. She moved out of doors (part of a movement that came to be known as plein air), and to her husband's disgust, Monet and Degas became her mentors.[6][7]

On the terrace at Sèvres (1880)

Many of her best-known works were painted outdoors, especially in her garden at Sèvres. One of her last paintings was The Artist's Son and Sister in the Garden at Sèvres.[12] Bracquemond participated in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1879, 1880, and 1886.[8] In 1879 and 1880, some of her drawings were published in La Vie Moderne. In 1881, she exhibited five works at the Dudley Gallery in London.

In 1886, Félix Bracquemond met Gauguin through Sisley and brought the impoverished artist home. Gauguin had a decisive influence on Marie Bracquemond and, in particular, he taught her how to prepare her canvas in order to achieve the intense tones she now desired.[7]

Unlike many of her Impressionist contemporaries, Bracquemond spent a great deal of effort planning her pieces. Even though many of her works have a spontaneous feel, she prepared in a traditional way through sketches and drawings.[6] Although she was overshadowed by her well-known husband, the work of the reclusive Marie Bracquemond is considered to have been closer to the ideals of Impressionism. According to their son Pierre, Félix Bracquemond was often resentful of his wife, brusquely rejecting her critique of his work, and refusing to show her paintings to visitors. In an unpublished manuscript written by Pierre about his parents' life, he shares that his father "seldom showed her work to their friends. When he did compliment her, it was in private. Therefore, none of their artists friends paid attention to her works or spoke of her efforts, and when she revealed hopes for success, Félix put her ambition down to 'incurable vanity.'"[13] In 1890, Marie Bracquemond, worn out by the continual household friction and discouraged by lack of interest in her work, abandoned her painting except for a few private works.[8]

She remained a staunch defender of Impressionism throughout her life, even when she was not actively painting. In defense of the style to one of her husband's many attacks on her art, she said, "Impressionism has produced ... not only a new, but a very useful way of looking at things. It is as though all at once a window opens and the sun and air enter your house in torrents."[6]


She died in Paris on January 17, 1916.[8] On January 23, art critic Arsène Alexandre paid tribute to her memory in the newspaper Le Figaro.[14] In the article, Alexandre wrote that Bracquemond "was one of those artists ignored, of which the times to come will astonish, both the rare talent and the voluntary shadow in which this talent enveloped itself", and described Bracquemond as an "exquisite painter" whose character "was worthy of the work: sensitive, proud and an almost excessive modesty."[15]


Henri Focillon described Bracquemond in 1928 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.[16] Feminist art criticism in the 1970s brought increasing attention to women in the Impressionist art movement, and renewed interest in the forgotten work of Marie Bracquemond. In the 1980s, art historian Tamar Garb popularized women artists like Marie Bracquemond with the publication of Women Impressionists, leading to a new era of research on the subject.[4] Bracquemond was later included in the 2018 exhibit Women in Paris 1850-1900.[17]


There is no catalogue raisonné for Marie Bracquemond.[1] This is an incomplete and unsorted list of public and privately owned paintings, watercolors, and etchings by Marie Bracquemond according to the 1919 exhibition catalog of the Bernheim-Jeune art gallery.[18] Bracquemond produced at least 81 paintings and oil sketches, 34 watercolors, 23 drawings, and nine etchings.[19] This list does not include her ceramic works. At least two of her works, the ceramic faience panel The Muses (1878) and the painting The Swallow (1880), depicting the Sisleys in a boat on the Seine, are presumed lost.[1]

  1. La Dame en blanc (1880)
  2. Sur la terrasse à Sèvres (1880)
  3. Près de la fenêtre
  4. Avenue de Bellevue sous la neige
  5. Portrait de Pierre Bracquemond
  6. Chrysanthèmes
  7. Roses
  8. Le Goûter (1880)
  9. La Partie de jacquet
  10. L’Aquarelliste
  1. Portrait de Marie Bracquemond
  2. Portrait de Félix Bracquemond (1886)
  3. On vient d’allumer la lampe (1887)
  4. Portrait de Pierre Bracquemond
  5. Bouquet
  6. Esquisse d’après une aquarelle de G. Moreau
  7. Dans le jardin (1886)
  8. Esquisse du tableau: "Sur la terrasse à Sèvres"
  9. Vue du haut Sèvres
  10. Vue de Paris
  11. Etude d’arbres en fleur
  12. Bouquet près de la fenêtre
  13. Fleurs dans un vase
  14. Panier de fraises
  15. Etude: Coteau de Sèvres
  16. La Route des Jardies
  17. Etude à Sèvres
  18. Au soleil
  19. Pêches
  20. Etude d’arbres
  21. Etude pour "Le Goûter"
  22. Etude pour "Près de la fenêtre"
  23. Etude de matin
  24. Femme lisant
  25. L’Allée de rhododendrons
  26. La Pêche aux écrevisses
  27. Etude: Femme cousant
  28. Etude de femme (1880)
  29. Etude pour "La Tasse de café"
  30. Le Peintre
  31. Etude d’homme
  32. Au bord du ruisseau
  33. Dans un jardin
  34. Verger à La Chabanne
  35. Terrasse à La Chabanne
  36. Le Pilote
  37. Etude d’homme
  38. Au bord de la Seine
  39. Etude pour "La Partie de jacquet"
  40. La Tricoteuse
  41. Femme en rose
  42. Une Ailee a La Chabanne
  43. Sur l’étang
  44. Portrait de jeune femme
  45. Anémones
  46. Etude (1880)
  47. Etude
  48. Etude
  49. Projet de tableau: "Le Jet d’eau"
  50. Projet de tableau: "Le Bain"
  51. Projet de tableau
  52. Projet de tableau
  53. Projet de tableau
  54. Projet de tableau
  55. Projet de tableau
  56. Projet de tableau
  57. Projet de tableau
  58. Etude de fleurs
  59. Roses
  60. Pivoines
  61. Femme et fleurs
  62. Etude pour le portrait blanc
  63. Petite femme rose
  64. Première communion
  65. Sur la terrasse de La Chabanne
  66. Etude pour "Le Goûter"
  67. La Tasse de café
  68. Esquisse de "Sur la terrasse à Sèvres"
  69. Crevettes (1887)
  70. Narcisses et anémones
  71. Esquisse de "L’Arbre de Noël"
  72. Projet de tableau
  73. Bertrand et Raton, d’après Gustave Moreau
  74. Etude de tête, pastel
  75. La Promenade
  76. Au soleil
  77. Les Trois Grâces de 1880 (1880)
  78. Reines-marguerites
  79. Chrysanthèmes
  80. Portrait de Mme Th. Haviland
  81. ´´ Paysage d´ hiver``
  82. bis. Paul et Virginie (plaque de faïence)
  1. Le Mont-Dore
  2. Solitude
  3. Portrait de la Comtesse de Bony de Lavergne
  4. Etude pour le Mont-Dore
  5. Le Jardin de l’Ecole Normale à Sèvres
  6. Une Allée de l’Ecole Normale
  7. Quatre petites études de femme
  8. Au bord du ruisseau
  9. L’Echarpe violette
  10. Etude
  11. L’Allée fleurie
  12. Femme en deuil
  13. Etude
  14. Etude
  15. Etude de fillette
  16. Etude de femme
  17. Vues de Divonne
  18. Vues de Divonne
  19. Vues de Divonne
  20. Vues de Divonne
  21. Vues de Divonne
  22. Vues de Divonne
  23. Vues de Divonne
  24. Vues de Divonne
  25. Vues de Divonne
  26. Vues de Divonne
  27. Vues de Divonne
  28. Vues de Divonne
  29. Vues de Divonne
  30. Vues de Divonne
  31. Vues de Divonne
  32. Vues de Divonne
  33. Au bord du ruisseau
  34. Cueillette des pommes (1886)
  1. Le Mur du parc
  2. La Crèche
  3. La Poésie
  4. La Foire de St-Cloud
  5. Etude pour "Les Gants"
  6. Etude
  7. Etude
  8. Etude de jeune homme
  9. Portrait de Marie Bracquemond
  10. Portrait de Marie Bracquemond
  11. Portrait de Mme Chaudesaigues
  12. Portrait de Mlle Quivoron
  13. Portrait de Mlle Quivoron
  14. Sur la branche
  15. Etude de visage
  16. La Danse
  17. Etude de robe
  18. Page d’album
  19. Page d’album
  20. Projet pour un plat
  21. Croquis
  22. Près de la fenêtre
  23. Les Beaux Arts, projet de décoration
  1. Germinie Lacerteux
  2. Le Petit malade
  3. Le Tableau
  4. Portrait de Gustave Geffroy
  5. Portrait de Mlle Quivoron
  6. Portrait de Marie Bracquemond (1888)
  7. Portrait de Mme Béraldi
  8. Portrait de Mme Guy Pellion
  9. Les Ballons

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Selected Marie Bracquemond Exhibitions - Solo Date
Paris, Bernheim-Jeune. Catalogue des peintres, aquarelles, dessins et eaux-fortes de Marie Bracquemond. 1919
Paris, Bernheim-Jeune. 1962
Group exhibitions
Mortagne, Musée de Mortagne. Félix Bracquemond, 1833-1914: gravures, dessins, ceramiques. Marie Bracquemond, 1841-1916. tableaux. Also shown Chartres. 1972, May–September
Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Museum of Art. The Crisis of Impressionism, 1878-1882.

Included works by Marie and Félix Bracquemond, Cassatt, and Morisot, among many other Impressionist artists.

1979-80, November 2 - January 6
Paris, Musée d’Orsay. Women, art and power (Femmes, art et pouvoir) 2019-20, September 11 - January 20

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Pfeiffer, Ingrid; Hollein, Max (2008). Women Impressionists. Hatje Cantz. pp. 240–241, 304. ISBN 978-3775720793.
  2. ^ "Women Impressionists: Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Bracquemond". FAMSF. 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  3. ^ Peterson, Ashley (Spring 2017). "The Female Impressionists: A Study in a Gendered Art" Archived 2022-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Journal of Undergraduate Research. University of Florida. 1(2): p. 5.
  4. ^ a b Clement, Russell T. Houzé, Annick. Erbolato-Ramsey, Christiane. (2000). The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook. Greenwood Press. pp. xiii-xiv, 155-164. ISBN 0-313-30848-9.
  5. ^ Oxford Art Online: "Marie Bracquemond"
  6. ^ a b c d e Delia Gaze, Concise Dictionary of Women Artists, Routledge, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Bouillon, Jean-Paul; Kane, Elizabeth (1984), "Marie Bracquemond", Woman's Art Journal, 5 (2), Woman's Art, Inc.: 21–27, doi:10.2307/1357962, JSTOR 1357962.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Clement, Russell T.; Houze, Annick; Erbolato-Ramsey, Christiane (2000). The Women Impressionists: A Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 155–163. ISBN 0-313-30848-9.
  9. ^ Burty, Philippe (1878), "Le Peinture-graveur Félix Bracquemond", L'Art, 12: 296.
  10. ^ Myers, Nicole (September 2008). "Women Artists in Nineteenth-Century France". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  11. ^ Jean-Paul Bouillon, Marie Bracquemond, la "dame" de l'impressionisme, in L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, no.458, June 2010, p.62.
  12. ^ Garb, Tamar (1987)[1986]. Women Impressionists. Rizzoli. p. 9, 30. ISBN 0-8478-0757-6.
  13. ^ Bracquemond, Pierre. La Vie de Félix et Marie Bracquemond.
  14. ^ Kagawa, Kyoko (2021). "Marie Bracquemond's On the Terrace at Sevres: An Impressionist Painter's Point of Departure Archived 2022-10-18 at the Wayback Machine". Ishibashi Foundation Bulletin. Artizon Museum. 2: 119-123.
  15. ^ Alexandre, Arsène. (January 23, 1916). "Mme Marie Bracquemond Archived 2022-11-04 at the Wayback Machine". Le Figaro. p. 3.
  16. ^ Focillon, Henri (1928), "quoted by Ingrid Pfeiffer in "Impressionism is Feminine"", Women Impressionists (2008): 13.
  17. ^ Madeline, Laurence (2017). Women artists in Paris, 1850-1900. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300223934.
  18. ^ Catalogue des peintures, aquarelles, dessins et eaux-fortes de Marie Bracquemond. Bernheim-Jeune. 1919. pp. 11-19.
  19. ^ Modified citation from Pfeiffer (2008) p. 30, which is either a typo of the 1919 catalog numbers (90 paintings instead of 81), a typo attributable to Kane 1983, which they cite, or a pointer to an additional nine paintings not accounted for in the literature. The 1919 catalog only cites 81 paintings.

Further reading[edit]