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Impressionism’s ‘forgotten woman’ shines in new Paris show

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The first major show of Berthe Morisot’s paintings in France in nearly 80 years puts the forgotten woman of Impressionism back at the centre of the movement she helped found.

One damning review of the first exhibition by the group that would revolutionise art blasted that it was no more than “five or six lunatics of which one is a woman …[whose] feminine grace is maintained amid the outpourings of a delirious mind.”

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That 1874 show included such soon-to-be art giants as Monet and Manet, whose brother Eugene later married Morisot.

But after her early death at 54, when she caught pneumonia after nursing their daughter through the illness, Morisot slipped into the shadow of her more famous male peers like Renoir and Degas.

Now a new show at the Musee d’Orsay, the first dedicated to her work by a major Paris institution since 1941, puts Morisot back in the rightful place as one of the most startling and innovative artists of her time.

Curator Sylvie Patry said Morisot’s work was always seen through the lens of the male artists who taught her like the great landscape painter Corot, or those she worked alongside like Manet or Renoir.

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– ‘Giving her back her place’ –

“We had to clear away some cliches about the woman artist and give her back her place at the heart of Impressionism,” Patry added.

The show highlights how radical she actually was.

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Like Degas and the American painter Mary Cassatt — who suffered similarly at the hands of art historians for decades — Morisot preferred intimate portraits to the luminous landscapes that the group pioneered.

The Paris show is full of her penetrating and often ambiguous portraits of women, such as “In The Cradle” where a mother sits over her sleeping baby.

Experts say that there is often “more than meets the eye” to her pictures, with the mother peering at her child in a way which could hint at tiredness, boredom or even regret as much as love.

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Patry said that when Morisot painted her female models like her sister Edma she was looking to capture “what was happening in that moment”.

She was obsessed with the “passing of time” and her energetic, fast style which so impressed Manet was about suggesting more than it was describing.

– Radically modern –

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This very modern sensibility included daring to leave some of her works so they seemed to look “unfinished”.

At the time critics attacked this, believing that it showed a female hesitancy and a lack of confidence.

But Patry insisted that it was part of her fascination with the fleeting nature of life and her own determination that it was she as an artist who decided when a work was finished.

The world she painted was mostly the private, intimate one of fashionable Parisian ladies: domestic scenes and tasks, children and flowers, and the snatched pleasures of holiday resorts.

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Nor was she afraid to show the boredom of her subjects.

Morisot was also lucky to be married to Eugene Manet, a minor painter, who did not take umbrage at her talent or her friendships with his brother Edouard, or Degas, Renoir, Monet and Mallarme.

Tellingly, the largest ever retrospective of her work was organised just after her early death in 1895 by her Impressionist peers who so admired and respected her.

Unlike theirs, which are scattered among the world’s great museums, the 70 Morisot works in the Musee d’Orsay exhibition — which runs until September 22 — mostly come from private collections.

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Running alongside the show, the museum has organised a week-long itinerary called “Women, art and power” to highlight the work of female artists in its vast collection of 19th-century French art.


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‘They have a responsibility to not be stupid’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe slaps Trump’s ‘ignorant’ rally-goers for swallowing Trump lies

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blamed President Donald Trump's supporters for failing their most basic civic responsibility by remaining willfully ignorant and swallowing his lies.

The president claimed his betrayal of the Kurds was actually keeping them safe, despite credible reports of war crimes against them by Turkey, and the "Morning Joe" host challenged rally-goers to open their eyes -- and believe what they see.

"It's the responsibility to people that show up at those rallies to not be stupid, to not be so stupid that they should be kept away from blenders," Scarborough said. "All they have to do is spend three seconds actually watching the news, all they have to do is spend three seconds on Google, spend three seconds talking to somebody that is not completely brainwashed to see that this is a horrible deal for the Kurds."

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‘This was the smoking gun!’ MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains why Mulvaney ‘confession’ could end Trump presidency

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had offered "smoking gun" evidence in a stunning confession to the crime at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The "Morning Joe" host said Mulvaney had made a stunning "confession," but he said the president had on the same day endorsed the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish allies he had betrayed to Turkey.

"There's so much to talk about, we joke for a few minutes at the top of the show, Mika likes do that, me, I like to get straight into the news," said Scarborough, who frequently annoys his wife and co-host by bantering about sports at the start of the show. "But there's so much going on that if somebody just woke up this morning they might not think that yesterday was not one of the most significant news days in, during the Trump presidency, and I may even argue one of the most significant news days over perhaps the last decade, just in terms of volume."

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Vote-splitting fears raised in final days of Canada election

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In the dying days of what Justin Trudeau described as one of the "nastiest" election campaigns in Canadian history -- with plenty of mudslinging, attack ads and misinformation -- he played up fears on Thursday of vote-splitting handing victory to his rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.

Policy announcements gave way to calls to vote strategically to keep Trudeau's Liberals in power and prevent a rollback of his progressive policies by the Tories.

Pollsters predict a minority government -- either Liberal or Conservative -- resulting from the October 21 ballot.

Attack ads accused Liberals of seeking to legalize hard drugs and the Tories of allowing assault rifles on Canadian streets -- claims that are flat out wrong or exaggerated, respectively.

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