Eva Gonzalès

18471883 | Paris, France
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French painter and pastellist.

Eva Gonzalès is one of the few women known to have been associated with the Impressionist movement, alongside Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) and Marie Bracquemond (1840-1916). However she never exhibited with them, opting instead for the more official alternative of the Salon, much like her teacher Édouard Manet (1832-1883).
Born into a middle-class family of Spanish and Monégasque origin – her father, Emmanuel Gonzalès, was a writer, and her mother, Marie-Céline Ragut, a musician – E. Gonzalès was educated with her sister Jeanne Guérard-Gonzalès (1852-1924) in an eclectic environment that encouraged her artistic interests. In 1866 she started taking lessons at the women’s studio held by academic painter Charles Chaplin (1825-1891), where she showed her eagerness to convey the atmosphere and appeal of the everyday and intimate lives of the young women of her generation (Le Thé [Tea time], 1868-1869). After several years of classical training, however, she decided to perfect her art with E. Manet, whose controversial work she admired. She was introduced to Manet in 1869 by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens (1823-1906) and subsequently became his only pupil. The first work E. Gonzalès showed at the 1870 Salon was Enfant de troupe (Soldier boy, 1869-1870), an obvious tribute to her teacher’s Le Fifre [The fifer, 1866]. Their joint exhibition at the Salon, where E. Manet showed his Portrait d’Eva Gonzalès (1870), made their friendship and mutual admiration public.

In the mid-1870s, E. Gonzalès met her future husband, Henri Guérard (1846-1897), a whimsical painter and etcher, whom she first depicted in 1874, in a portrait with her sister Jeanne, Une loge aux Italiens [A box at the Théâtre des Italiens], which bears similarities to the works of other Impressionists she met at E. Manet’s studio, and who influenced her painting style (Frère et sœur (Grandcamp) [Brother and sister], c. 1877-1878). Regardless of these seemingly Impressionistic canvases, she chose to follow a direction she deemed more suited to her temperament and remained resolutely distant from the vivaciousness of her counterparts. From one Salon to the next she received praise from both conservative newspapers and the defenders of modern painting, all of which recognised in her works a pleasing combination of the academic style of her first teacher and the modernity of the second.

On 6 May 1883, two weeks after giving birth to her son Jean-Raymond and six days after E. Manet’s death, E. Gonzalès died of an embolism at the age of thirty-six. After a retrospective exhibition at the Salons de la Vie Moderne in Paris in 1885, her work remained out of the public eye for many years, safeguarded by her sister and husband. It was later rehabilitated by the artist’s son in the 20th century, with several exhibitions (Eva Gonzalès, Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Paris, 1932; Eva Gonzalès, Galerie Alfred Daber, Paris, 1950). Her son’s 1927 gift to the Musée du Louvre of the canvas Une loge aux Italiens helped place E. Gonzalès on the list of women artists who left their mark on the second half of the 19th century.

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Julie Maraszak-Saunié

Translated from French by Lucy Pons.

Publication made in partnership with musée d’Orsay.

© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Le Moineau, 1869-1870, oil on canvas

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Fille aux cerises, 1870, oil on canvas, 56.2 x 47.4 cm, Art Institute Chicago

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Une loge aux Italiens, ca. 1874, huile sur toile, 98 x 130 cm, musée d’Orsay, © Photo : RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Portrait de femme, vers 1870, oil on wood, 16 x 14 cm, musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille, © Photo : Ville de Marseille, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean Bernard

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Le bouquet de violettes, ca. 1877-1878, pastel on wove paper, 25.1 x 19.1 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Nanny and Child, 1877-1878, oil on canvas, 65 x 81.4 cm, The National Gallery of Art, Washington

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Le Réveil, 1876-1877, oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm, Kunsthalle Brême

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Le thé, vers 1868-1869, oil on canvas, 94 x 60 cm, private collection

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, La Modiste, ca. 1877, pastel and watercolor on canvas, 45 x 37 cm, Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, © Photo : Art Institute of Chicago, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image The Art Institute of Chicago

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, La Modiste, ca. 1877, pastel and watercolor on canvas, 45 x 37 cm, Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, © Photo : Art Institute of Chicago, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image The Art Institute of Chicago

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Enfant de troupe, 1870, oil on canvas, 13 x 97.5 cm, musée de Gajac, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, © Photo : RMN-Grand Palais / Hervé Lewandowski

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Frère et sœur (Grandcamp), ca. 1877-1878, oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Eva Gonzalès — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Eva Gonzalès, Le Dessert, 1875-1876, oil on canvas, 21.3 cm x 34.4 cm, private collection

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