The Garden at Bougival (Berthe Morison, 1884)
Many thanks for the invitation. Yes, I’d love to visit you in Bougival. Not so much because I want to see your house, though I expect it’s splendid! I can’t imagine an artist obsessed with light and the ecstasy of color living anywhere dim and dull. No, I confess, I want to lounge in your vast gardens – abundant, dappled blooms – roses, hydrangeas, hollyhocks. To devour all their tones and shades. To see the Seine flow slowly and calmly, day by day.
Want to kick off my shoes, like your daughter Julie, and wade in the thick lawn; to spend hours in that lush enclosure. Want to see where you thrived in the Seine’s river light. Enough to make the heart sing!
Victorian by birth you may have been, but you weren’t invisibly demure like so many women. For that I thank you. Expect me shortly.
Notes: Berthe Morisot lived and worked in Bougival, France, not far from Paris, at 4 rue de la Princesse where she rented a house and spent every summer between 1881 and 1884, making at least 40 paintings — The Fable (1883), The Quay at Bougival (1883), On the Veranda (1884), Garden at Bougival (1884), Eugène Manet and his daughter in the garden (1883), Roses trémières (Hollyhocks) (1884), and more.