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Cache-Cache (Hide and Seek) is one of Berthe Morisot’s best known, most popular, and most enduring images. Its historical importance is underscored by the fact that it was included in the first Impressionist group show. This landmark exhibition was organized by the avant-garde in 1874 as an alternative to the officially sanctioned exhibition known as the Salon, and is recognized as a defining moment in the history of art. Moreover, Cache-Cache was lent to the exhibition by the leader of the modern movement (and Morisot’s future brother-in-law) Edouard Manet, who greatly admired Morisot’s work. The relatively restricted palette and the open, flickering brushwork are reminiscent of many of Manet’s paintings of the late 1860s and early 1870s, such as his portrait Berthe Morisot au soulier rose (see fig. 1),  which was painted by Manet around the same time as the present work. Thus, Cache-Cache reflects not only Manet’s taste, but his influence on Morisot’s stylistic development.\n\nPraise for Cache-Cache was offered by important and influential critics who saw it at the 1874 exhibition. Jules-Antoine Castagnary wrote in the publication Le Siècle: “Berthe Morisot has wit to the tips of her fingers, especially her fingertips. What fine artistic feeling! You cannot find more graceful images handled more deliberately and delicately than Berceau and Cache-Cache. I would add that here the execution is in complete accord with the idea to be expressed” (Jules-Antoine Castagnary, Le Siècle, Paris, April 29, 1874). The reviewer for La République Française, Philippe Burty, agreed: “An oil painting, of a young mother playing hide-and-seek behind a cherry tree with her little girl, is a work that is perfect in the emotion of its observation, the freshness of its palette, and the composition of its background” (Philippe Burty, La République Française, Paris, April 1874).\n\nThe figures depicted are Morisot’s sister, Edma Pontillon (see fig. 4), and Edma’s daughter Jeanne. They are shown playing hide-and-seek in the landscape surrounding the country estate of Edma’s father-in-law in the village of Maurecourt, not far from Paris. As Charles Stuckey observed in the catalogue of the Morisot exhibition of 1987: “Looking is the general theme of Cache-Cache (Hide-and-Seek); it depicts Edma with three-year old Jeanne as they pause to play near a little cherry tree during a summer’s stroll. Although Morisot’s ‘touch,’ the way she indicated the grass and leaves with rough stabs and dashes of green, accented here and there in white, impressed several critics as fresh and graceful, none referred to the tiny branch visible at the far right. This whimsical fragment suggests that Morisot’s composition as a whole is but a part of the spatial continuum extending in every direction, most of it hidden from view in the spirit of hide-and-seek” (Berthe Morisot, Impressionist, (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, 1987, p.55). Morisot spent several summers with Edma while Edma’s children were small, during which times she painted other works that closely relate to Cache-Cache, such as La lecture ou l'Ombrelle verte (see fig. 2).  In La chasse aux papillons (Butterfly Hunt, see fig. 3) of the following summer, which now hangs in the Musée d’Orsay, Morisot depicted Edma, Jeanne, and another of Edma’s children.\n\nMorisot often depicted moments in her private life, thus combining her role as a leading figure in the avant-garde with that of an upper-class-woman belonging to a close-knit family. As William Scott has noted: " Morisot apparently did not have a set working routine. According to the poet Paul Valéry (1871 – 1945), when she painted ‘she would take up the brush, leave it aside, take it up again in the same way as a thought will come to us, vanish, and return.” Her biographer Armand Fourreau, noted, “In Paris she was accustomed to paint in her drawing room, laying aside her canvas, brushes, and palette in a cupboard as soon as an unforeseen visitor was announced” (ibid., p. 189). Although Morisot willingly, and, by all accounts, very graciously fulfilled the social and familial obligations expected of a woman of station in late-nineteenth century France, for the first twenty-five years of the Third Republic she persevered to produce images that focus on both her own world and subjects from modern life.\n\nThroughout her career Morisot explored the boundaries of modern art, always questioning accepted practice and experimenting with a variety of ideas about color and line. As a result, she made a remarkable contribution to late nineteenth-century French painting and the history of Impressionism. In her own words: “ And of what use are the rules? None at all. It is only necessary to feel and see things in a different way and where can that be learned?… The eternal question of drawing and color is futile because color is only an expression of form. You can’t train a musician by scientific explanations of sound vibrations, nor the eye of a painter by explaining the relationship between line and tone” (ibid., p. 189). As the critic Jean Ajalbert wrote on the occasion of the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition in 1886, “She eliminates cumbersome epithets and heavy adverbs in her terse sentence. Everything is subject and verb” (Jean Ajalbert, La Revue Moderne, Paris, June 1886). Cache-Cache testifies to the fact that by the time of the first Impressionist exhibition, Morisot had already – and brilliantly – mastered a new language of art.\nFig. 1, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot au soulier rose, circa 1872, oil on canvas, Hiroshima Museum of Art\nFig. 4, Photograph of the artist's sister, Edma Pontillon, date unknown\nFig. 2, Berthe Morisot, La lecture ou l'ombrelle verte, 1873, oil on canvas, Cleveland Museum of Art\nFig. 3, Berthe Morisot, La chasse aux papillons, 1874, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris\nSigned Berthe Morisot (lower right)
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NY, US
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medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Berthe Morisot

dimensions

18 1/4 by 21 3/4 in.

exhibition

Paris, 35 Boulevard des Capucines, Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc. (first exhibition of the Impressionist group), 1874, no. 106 (lent by Edouard Manet) Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Madame Eugène Manet, Exposition de son oeuvre, 1896, no. 101 Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Exposition d'Oeuvres de Berthe Morisot, 1929, no. 64 Paris, Galerie André Weill, Berthe Morisot, 1947 London, The Tate Gallery, The John Hay Whitney Collection, 1960-61, no. 39 Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Centenaire de l'Impressionnisme, 1974, no. 106 Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, The John Hay Whitney Collection, 1983, no. 17 Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886, 1986, no. 10 Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum; South Hadley, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Berthe Morisot Impressionist, 1987-1988, no. 19

literature

F. de Gantès, "Courrier artistique: L'Exposition du boulevard," La Semaine parisienne, Paris, April 1874, p. 63 Etienne Carjet, "L'Exposition du boulevard des Capucines," Le Patriote français, Paris, April 1874, p. 3 Jules-Antoine Castagnary, "Les Impressionnistes," Le Siècle, April 29, 1874 Philippe Burty, "The Paris Exhibitions: Les Impressionnistes," The Academy, London, May 1874, p. 616 Louis Rouart, "Berthe Morisot," Art et Décoration, May 1908, illustrated p. 172 Roger Marx, Maîtres d'Hier et d' Aujourd' hui, Paris, 1914, p. 307 Armand Fourreau, Berthe Morisot, Paris, 1925, pp. 39-40, illustrated pl. 6 Monique Angoulvent, Berthe Morisot, Paris, 1933, illustrated no. 32 Lionello Venturi, Les Archives de l'Impressionnisme, vol. 2, Paris/New York, 1939, p. 256 Denis Rouart, Berthe Morisot, Paris, 1954, illustrated pl. 16 John Rewald, "French Paintings in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney," Connoisseur, March-April 1956, illustrated p. 140 The American Abroad, January 1958, illustrated p. 26 John Rewald, The History of Impressionism, New York, 1961, illustrated p. 331 Marie-Louise Bataille and Georges Wildenstein, Berthe Morisot, Catalogue des Peintures, Pastels et Aquarelles, Paris, 1961, no. 27, illustrated p. 17 Pierre Courthion, Impressionism, New York, 1969, illustrated p. 38 Jean-Dominique Rey, Berthe Morisot, Paris, 1982, illustrated p. 14 Kathleen Adler and Tamar Garb, Berthe Morisot, Oxford, 1987, illustrated fig. 33 William P. Scott, "Berthe Morisot: Coming into Her Own," The World of Interiors, November, 1987, illustrated p. 259 Gregory Galligan, "Berthe Morisot: Impressionism Rediscovered," Arts Magazine, December 1987, illustrated p. 79 Ruth Berson, The New Painting, Impressionism 1874-1886, vol. I, San Francisco, 1996, listed p. 6; vol. II, illustrated p. 25 Alain Clairet, Delphine Montalant and Yves Rouart, Berthe Morisot, 1841-1895, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Montolivet, 1997, no. 27, illustrated p. 126 The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art: European and American Masters (catalogue of the collection), Las Vegas, 1999, illustrated p. 38

provenance

Edouard Manet, Paris Théodore Duret, Paris Ambroise Vollard, Paris Edward H. Molyneux, Paris Carroll Carstairs Gallery, New York Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, New York (acquired from the above January 6, 1948 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 10, 1999, lot 10) The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Las Vegas (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 9, 2000, lot 32) Acquired at the above sale

signedDate

Signed Berthe Morisot (lower right)

time_period

Painted in 1873.

consignmentDesignation

Property from an American Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1841 - 1895


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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