When the Impressionist artists ruled Paris, there were a few women that made their way into the exclusive club. Known as Les Trois Grandes Dames, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Marie Bracquemond mixed and mingled with the likes of Manet, Degas, and Renoir.
Marie Bracquemond however had a very different life than Morisot or Cassatt. Raised in a family that had very little money but with a love of painting early on, she created her own paint colors using flower petals.
Without money or family support it was difficult to find a teacher until Auguste Vassor agreed to take her on. Under Vassor at just seventeen years old she finished and presented her first painting to the Paris Salon. The painting of her mother and sister was accepted and displayed for all to see including Ingres. Quite impressed with the young girl's talent, he invited her to his atelier to learn under the master. Ingres didn’t take women very seriously and only gave them images of flowers and fruit to paint. Marie grew very tired and left looking for other challenges.
Empress Eugene, wife of Napoleon III and a big promoter of women in art saw her work and commissioned her to paint a few paintings for her. Marie's career was really taking off until she met her future husband Felix Bracquemond. At first, he was supportive of her art, he was an artist himself. As an engraver and porcelain painter he would share his craft with her and also become angrier with her talent.
Marie today is mostly forgotten and little of her work remains. Listen to her whole story and the few things that kept her going during her unhappy marriage in this week's episode
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