Marie Anne Caroline Quivoron had her first painting accepted to the Salon in 1857. Though she moved often as a child, and had no formal artistic training, this first success proved her work ethic and careful eye. Her acceptance in the salon earned her an invitation to work in Ingres’s studio — where she butted heads with the master.
“He wished to impose limits. He would assign to them [women] only the painting of flowers, of fruits, of still lifes, portraits and genre scenes... I wish to work at painting, not to paint some flowers, but to express those feelings that art inspires in me.” It would not be the last time she struggled with domineering men.
In 1869, Marie married Félix Bracquemond, a well known engraver and friend of the impressionists. Through Félix, Marie met Gauguin, Monet, and Degas — and she became a confidant and collaborator with in the young movement. She would participate in the impressionist exhibitions of 1879, 1880, and 1886. As her skills and recognition grew, so did the jealousy and ire of her husband Félix.
Marie and Félix had a son, Pierre, in 1870, Pierre would be taught to paint by his mother, and was a witness to his fathers’s destructive jealousy. In his unpublished manuscript “La Vie de Félix et Marie Bracquemond” he described Felix providing only absuive critique of Maria’s work, hiding her paintings from guests, and actively barring her from showing her work publicly. In 1890 worn out from poor health and from the struggle with her husband, Marie gave up painting publicly. She would only paint a handful of watercolors, but still remained a defender of the ideals of Impressionism — responding to one of Felix’s rants:
“Impressionism has produced ... not only a new, but a very useful way of looking at things. It is as though all at once a window opens and the sun and air enter your house in torrents.”
Got questions, comments or corrections about Marie Bracquemond? Join the conversation in the Obelisk chat room, and if you enjoy content like this, consider becoming a member to unlock exclusive essays, downloadables, and discounts at the Obelisk Store.
Reed Enger, "Marie Bracquemond, A passionate Impressionist's legacy buried by her husband," in Obelisk Art History, Published January 19, 2016; last modified May 21, 2018, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/marie-bracquemond/.