Author(s): BUTTERFIELD PAULA
Above all, Berthe Morisot yearns to be a professional artist. Despite the skepticism of her parents and the male-dominated conservatism of the Parisian art world, Berthe pursues her artistic passion. Chafing under the tutelage of traditional masters, Berthe is mesmerized by Paris' most revolutionary artist, the debonair edouard Manet, whose radical paintings reflect a brash modern style. Berthe consents to model for edouard and in the process falls deeply in love, an affair that both must keep hidden from the world, for edouard is married to another. As the city of Paris is convulsed by the Franco-Prussian war, and dark family secrets are revealed, the lovers are driven apart. Berthe, after enduring the horrors of a city under siege and suffering from recurring depression, marries edouard's brother, the mercurial Eugene Manet. Quiet married life is not for Berthe, however, and she--along with her infamous contemporaries, which include Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, and Claude Monet--develop the radical painting style that challenges the stifling traditionalism of the Salon: Impressionism. Collectively, they deem Berthe's light-infused paintings the most avant-garde works of them all. La Luministe is the story of a woman driven by determination for professional recognition in a conservative art world equally determined to deny her a place. Despite her thwarted hopes for love and the physical rigors of war, Berthe Morisot emerges as one of art's most remarkable women.