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Berthe Morisot, Summer's Day

Key facts
Full title Summer's Day
Artist Berthe Morisot
Artist dates 1841 - 1895
Date made about 1879
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 45.7 × 75.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3264
Location On loan: Women Impressionists, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Collection Main Collection
Summer's Day
Berthe Morisot

This painting was almost certainly exhibited with the title The Lake in the Bois de Boulogne at the Fifth Impressionist exhibition in 1880 together with another picture by Berthe Morisot, In the Bois de Boulogne. The two paintings show the same two women (possibly professional models) who wear identical clothes in both pictures.

Morisot lived near the Bois de Boulogne in the west of Paris. During the 1850s, Napoleon III and the landscape architect Adolphe Alphand had transformed the Bois from a formal park into a ‘natural’ woodland designed to appeal to the city’s inhabitants.

As a scene of middle-class leisure set within domesticated nature, this picture is typical of imagery that has come to characterise Impressionism. But Morisot brings a boldness and vigour to her painting technique. Her distinctive zig-zag brushstrokes energise the entire picture surface and are particularly suited for capturing the play of light on the water.

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