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Marie Bracquemond: 1841 - 1916

Born Marie Quiveron in Brittany in 1840, her career in art is little known and not very well documented. Her family eventually moved from Brittany to Paris, where Marie took up painting. Like many Parisienne artists, Marie often visited the Louvre with her sketchpad, to study and copy the great masters. It was in the Louvre, where she was copying a Rembrandt masterpiece, that she met a talented engraver named Felix Bracquemond. They wed in 1869, and so began their artistic life together.

They had a son, Pierre, in 1870. Pierre, one of her staunchest supporters, noted sometime later that he was jealous of her achievement, seldom showed her works to viewing artists and resented any criticisms she might venture about his paintings.

Felix Bracquemond's taste ran towards the conservative works of Bonvin and Ribot, while Marie leaned toward Alfred Steven's works, which depicted fashionably dressed women. During the 1870s, Marie became facscinated with the works of Monet and Renoir, colorful, and filled with light.

In 1871, the Bracquemonds moved to the suburbs of Paris, specifically rue Brancas in Sevres. Pierre's health was not ideal, and the fresh air outside the city was a blessing.

The paintings of Felix's wife Marie were both a good deal closer to the general ideas of Impressionism and mode interesting than his, a fact of which he seems to have been conscious; She was something of a recluse, and many of her finest works (e.g. On the Terrace at Sèvres, 1880; Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva) were painted in her own garden. She exhibited for the first time in the Paris Salon in 1874. However, she was a vocal as well as an enthusiastic supporter of Impressionist doctrines, and she exhibited at the impressionist exhibitions of 1879, 1880 and 1886.

The famed art critic, Gustave Geoffrey once described Marie Bracquemond as "one of the three great ladies of Impressionism". However, compared to the other two, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, Marie Bracquemond has often been relegated as a mere footnote in the history of Impressionism. She was eclipsed by her husband, Felix, who, according to legend, has quite an overbearing personality. Felix objected strongly to the loose technique and outdoor painting practiced by the Impressionists (which is ironic, as he himself exhibited in three of the eight Impressionist exhibits).

Marie's sister, Louise, who lived with the Bracquemonds, despised Felix's treatment of Marie, and was one of her biggest supporters. However, due to the objections of her husband, Marie Bracquemond stopped painting altogether around 1890. She was not as prolific as her contemporaries, and her place in history has suffered as a result.

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