Impressionism is the first movement in painting. It was developed in


Impressionismis the first movement in painting. It was developed in 1860s inParis. The influence spread in the entire Europe and finally in theUnited States. The originators were those artists who rejected thesalons or the exhibitions that were sanctioned by the government. Themain aim of the impressionists was capturing the momentary sensoryimpacts of a scene. For them to achieve this, many impressionists’artists started painting in the countryside and in the streets. At atime when most of the women were expected to subject to theirmarriages, domestic matters and motherhood, some women ended upstudying art professionally in Europe(Clement et al, p.234). Thispaper seeks to explore the role played by the woman painters inimpressionism.

Femaleartist experienced difficulties in their attempt to contribute to theimpressionism. They were not able to explore public spaces and travelfreely. Bashkirtselff suggested that she longs for freedom of goingalone, of going and coming, of being able to sit on the seats ofTuileries and specifically in Luxembourg, freedom of stopping andtaking a look at the artistic shops, freedom of entering museums andchurches, freedom of walking at night in the streets . Without suchfreedoms, ne is not capable of becoming a real artist. The lack offreedom hindered the women artists from presenting all that they had.Due to this, many of the nineteenth century women artists changed toanti academic movements like Impressionism and Realism (Myersand Nicole , p 1).

Mostof the nineteenth century successful female artists such as MaryCassatt, Rose Bonheur and Cecilia Beaux were not married. Many otherwomen who were successful and enjoyed public acclamations wereclosely linked with the successful male artists. Rose Bonheurreceived training from her father who was a drawing teacher and apainter of the landscape. He believed in gender equality and stronglysupported the career of his daughter. Rose built her reputation bydealing in popular animal painting field. She received a gold medalin 1848 at the annual exhibitions for bulls and cows of the Cantal.Her greatest success came when she exhibited the Horse Fair in 1853.In 1857, this painting was bought by the American collector. Thepainting was celebrated by many people making Bonheur to besuccessful financially both abroad and at home (Legionof Honor, p 1).

Atthe time of the Bonheur’s death in 1899, she had received severalinternational honors such as the Order of the Leopold of Belgium, theCommander of Order of Isabella and Legion of Honor in France.Bonheur’s success was identical among different women artist of hertime. For her to be successful, she rejected all her gender roles.She decided to cut her hair short and seeked for permission from thepolice to put on the men’s pants to make her unnoticed in the horsefairs, slaughterhouses and stockyards dominated by the male artist(Clementet al, p.234).

EvaGonzales began her studies in the Chaplin Studio. She became thestudent, model and friend of Manet since their meeting in 1869. Manetstrongly influenced Gonzales and this enabled her to develop strongcontrast between dark and light tones. Many of Gonzales paintingsdepicted young women relaxing in fashionable theatergoers and in thegardens. Her paintings were largely accepted by several people andshe became famous in her paintings. She was known for her charismaticstyles for portraitures. Gonzales included subtle richness andemotion in her paintings. However, her career was cut short by herdeath at 34 years (Legionof Honor, p 1).

Impressionismemphasized on the contemporary life. This made it accessible to allthe artists from different artistic backgrounds. Morisot and Cassattwere two of the impressionism members. However, their social statusprevented them from frequently visiting the Parisian café dance andconcerts that were celebrated by the male artists. But they hadaccess the middle class leisure and landscapes that later became thestaple for the impressionists (Søndergaardand Sidsel , p. 259).

BertheMorisot was one of the impressionism influential members both inorganization of its exhibitions and creation of aesthetics. As notedby one critic, the paintings of Morisot were well improvised. She wasthe only impressionist to take part in every show with the exemptionof only one show held in 1879 when she gave birth to her daughter.She was married to the brother of Manet and she was a close friend toRenoir, this made her to become one of the most important members ofthe impressionist circle. Her love for outdoor paintings continuedthroughout her life. Her daughter Julie became her favorite model.With her feathery brushstrokes, light palette and quite scenes of thefemale domesticity, Morisot was considered by several critics as thepurest and the most successful impressionists(Clement et al, p.234).

Paintingsby Berthe Morisote

MostAmerican artist in the late nineteenth century such as Cassatt whowent to Paris in order to further her studies and remain in her cityof adoption for the rest of her life just like Gonzalez who studiedin the studio of chaplains and her close friendship with Edgar Degasgreatly influenced her. When she was invited, Cassatt startedexhibiting her paintings with the impressionists in 1879 and waspraised for her appropriate paintings. She painted feminine subjectslike a woman crocheting and taking tea. Later in 1890s, Cassattchanged to depictions of different mothers and children where shespecialized in. she also produced various series of etching colors,portraits and the large murals (Legionof Honor, p 1).

Exampleof mary Cassatt pauniting.

Marie Bracquemonds greatest challenge was the discouragement from herhusband. She did not enjoy the opportunities and privileges like theother women. She was later acquainted with other members of theimpressionist circle such as Renoir, Degas and Monet after herporcelain designs attracted the attention of Degas.Bracquemondexhibited in three different impressionist exhibitions. Her husband’sdisapproval of the impressionism and the discouragements made her tostop painting by 1890. The women impressionists is the majorexhibition of Marie Bracquemond’s painting since the 1919retrospective that was organized by Pierre at the Paris gallery. Theexhibition features close to forty works by Bracquemond such asdrawings, watercolors, oil paintings and the porcelain(Clement et al, p.234).


Womenin the nineteenth century greatly contributed to the impressionism,their role is evident in various paintings they deed in thenineteenth century. More specifically, women such as MarieBracquemonds, Berthe Morisot, MaryCassatt, Rose Bonheur and Cecilia Beaux were greatly recognized fortheir good artistic works they made several paintings for theimpressionism and were involved in various exhibitions.


Clement,Russell T, Annick Houzé, and Christiane Erbolato-Ramsey. TheWomen Impressionists: A Sourcebook.Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Greenwood Press, 2000. p.234. Print

Legionof Honor. Women Impressionists: Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, EvaGonzalès, Marie Bracquemond. 2008. P.1. Retrieved from: impressionists-berthe-morisot-mary-cassatt-eva-gonzal-s-marie-bracquemond

Myers,Nicole. &quotWomen Artists in Nineteenth-Century France&quot. InHeilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museumof Art, 2000p. 1. Retrieved from:


Søndergaard,Sidsel M. Womenin Impressionism: From Mythical Feminine to Modern Woman : Copenhagen:Skira, 2006. p . 259). Print