Girl Awakening by Eva Gonzalès - c. 1877/78 - 81.1 x 100.1 cm Kunsthalle Bremen Girl Awakening by Eva Gonzalès - c. 1877/78 - 81.1 x 100.1 cm Kunsthalle Bremen

Girl Awakening

Oil on canvas • 81.1 x 100.1 cm
  • Eva Gonzalès - April 19, 1849 - May 6, 1883 Eva Gonzalès c. 1877/78

Eva Gonzalès was one of the prominent Impressionists alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. She exhibited remarkable talent from an early age. At the tender age of 16, she embarked on her artistic journey under the guidance of the accomplished society portraitist Charles Chaplin. A mere three years later, her path intersected with that of Édouard Manet, making her his sole female pupil.

Contrary to the participation of some Impressionists in the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874, Eva Gonzalès chose not to exhibit her work at that event. Nonetheless, she garnered recognition at the Salon in the same year and even earlier in 1870 and 1873, particularly for her exquisite pastels. In 1879, she married the painter and engraver Henri-Charles Guérard, a close friend of Manet's. Tragically, just four years later, Eva Gonzalès passed away shortly after giving birth to her son. Subsequently, her husband married her sister Jeanne, who had frequently posed as a model for Eva Gonzalès, as she did for this painting from Bremen.

In this artwork, we witness the young woman in the moments following her awakening, her gaze still filled with dreamy contemplation. Her delicate complexion and ebony hair starkly contrast against the white-on-white backdrop of the bed, bedclothes, nightgown, and table setting, infused with hints of blue, beige, and pink shadows. A companion sketch to this sensual portrayal exists in a private collection, depicting Jeanne in an identical pose, with her eyes peacefully closed in slumber, though with a notably more subdued color palette.

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P.S. Eva Gonzalès is sadly often overlooked when talking about the Impressionists. Explore her beautiful paintings a bit more