Sometimes it feels like walking through Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity is one big game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The art world was, of course, much smaller than it is now, both geographically and in terms of the numbers of active participants. But the principal players were also much more interconnected.
The woman you see here, Yves Gobillard, was artist Berthe Morisot’s oldest sister. Family friend Edgar Degas asked to paint this intimate portrait of her when she was visiting her family in Paris.
Morisot also featured herself and another sister, Edma, in another painting in the exhibition, fittingly called The Sisters. In this work, they sit on a couch wearing matching outfits that symbolize their close relationship. A fan painted by Degas hangs on the wall behind them.
Morisot also serves as the subject of another painting in the exhibition, Édouard Manet’s Repose. She would eventually become his sister-in-law, marrying his brother Eugène just a few years after this was painted.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Besides the ones we've already mentioned, what other Impressionist connections can you find?
P.S. For the record, Yves Gobillard was painted by Edgar Degas who—and this is a leap—appeared as a character in 2011's Midnight in Paris played by actor François Rostain. Rostain appeared with Michael Sheen in Midnight in Paris, who also starred in Frost/Nixon with one Kevin Bacon!
Edgar Degas. Madame Théodore Gobillard, 1869. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, 29.100.45.
Édouard Manet. Repose, c. 1871. Museum of Rhode Island School of Dedign, Providence, bequest of Mrs. Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt Gerry, 59.027.