Impressionistic #TankaTuesday

This week’s #TankaTuesday by Colleen Chesebro is to write an ekphrastic syllabic poem inspired by a Berthe Morisot painting shared by Rebecca Budd on her blog Chasing Art. The painting is

This Impressionist painting is in a French museum. I grew up going to the Art Institute in Chicago several times a year. While I’ve seen amazing Impressionist paintings at the Louvre and at the Courtauld in London, the Art Institute also has a gorgeous collection. My favorite painting there is by Caillebotte. Impressionism used to be my favorite style. Now my taste leans more toward Surrealism and Symbolism. Since I have been immersing myself in Surrealism by writing ekphrastic stories inspired by Remedios Varo, I really needed to zap myself into a different mentality first. So I ate some Ruffles and French onion dip. Get it? French chip dip, French painting.

I decided to write a tanka about the man in the painting who is the husband of the painter. I discovered that he was a painter himself, and the brother of the more famous Manet. He apparently was very supportive of his wife’s career as well as that of his brother. I found that to be very inspiring, especially since I am reading a novel about Varo’s life and how the male Surrealists treated the female painters. Not as colleagues.

Topic: Supportive Husband

My view is lovely

from our holiday quarters.

Better is this man

who places his career last

after his brother and moi.


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Poetry, Writing, Writing prompt

53 responses to “Impressionistic #TankaTuesday

  1. I admire your use of food to get in the spirit. I need to do that more often!

  2. Thank you for the background. We get to see lots of great art and Impressionist art in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Barnes. I was only in the Art Institute once for a very quick visit.

  3. How poignant that any of the three should have to go last. I do not know the answer to this puzzle.

    • You are going down the rabbit hole I went. What was in his mind? Was he lacking in confidence? Did he know his work didn’t have the same spark he saw in his wife’s and his brother’s? Was he lazy? Was he the kindest husband and brother? I find it especially interesting about his relationship with his wife because, after all, this was a time when women painters were not well accepted. Or was it that he was bullied by both of them? (I am not going to say the woman is always right, although usually she is 😉 ). I can’t find paintings by Eugene. This painting and another of Eugene by Degas pops up, but his own work is totally obscured by Google. I could go on and on in this rabbit hole of mine.

  4. Nice post and poem, Luanne. Informative (including the method of getting in the mood with French chips and dip) and esthetically a treat too. I find it interesting in the painting, how we see the man looking past two flowers on the window sill at two “flowers” on the street in front of his house. I see that he has taken his glasses off, the better to see them in the distance. (I think that is what he has in his right hand…?)

    • Thanks, Anneli. I think those flowers are very interesting. He and Berthe had one daughter, but they were only married in 1874 and this painting is 1875, so they are newly married here. What does his gaze mean? Is he a ladies man? If so, why is the child there? To me it seems more that he is someone who wants a family with children, and he is halfway there being now married.

      • I didn’t even notice that one was a child. I think it was the hat. I assumed that it was two women he was looking at. Even so, he found them interesting, and maybe there was nothing sinister in his gaze. Maybe he was just admiring the beauty of the scene, like he may have admired his two flowers.

  5. Very sweet, Luanne <3 ~ I read about this painting and about the subject of the painting too… and I had the very same thought as you! So nice 🙂

    Much love,

  6. I liked your interpretation of the painting. I also like your method of getting into a French frame of mind. I love the Impressionists and spent a great deal of time at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  7. A supportive husband can make all the difference for a female artists (regardless the form of creative expression).

  8. I haven’t been to a decent art museum since … probably the last time I was in California, I think about 2018. Tallahassee has some museums here, but the town is quite parochial. Anyway, I love your poetic interpretation of this painting. Thank you for the background info, too!

    • Oh my, Marie. That’s rough not having any quality museums around you. I think you would love the Heard here in PHoenix–lots of Native American art, including a big collection of kachina dolls, and other non NA art, as well.

  9. I’ve always enjoyed the impressionist art. I’ve seen this painting, but perhaps did not know all the back story. Yes, a supportive husband is a great thing. Especially in that era! Then there are those who SEEM supportive, but are just looking for a meal ticket. Hmm. Can be hard to tell.

  10. This post is so informative Luanne, and the comments add to its richness. Thanks for sharing all about the painting and art.

  11. HI Luanne, your posts are always so interesting. I am loving the wide variety of responses this prompt is inspiring. I enjoyed the history of this painting when I read it on Rebecca’s site.

    • Oh, thank you, Robbie. That’s such a nice thing to say. I always like the varied responses. People think so differently about the same thing.

  12. An excellent example with a message

  13. Love the poem, and the painting. At least he wasn’t a pig like the other painters. Where did men get that arrogance, anyway? Wasn’t it women who raised them and taught them?

    • It must have had to do with the process of directing boys toward the world of men and away from their mothers. I imagine it was different process everywhere, but it must have been a necessity for patriarchy to prevail. Thanks, Polly!

  14. I wondered if this was an Impressionist type painting. I try not to use the terms I’m not familiar with. All I know is what appeals to me. LOL! Thanks so much for sharing some of your knowledge, Luanne. I feel like the painting captures an idyllic moment in time. You know, like how some memories are stuck in our brain and when the sunlight slants at a certain angle, it reminds you of that memory?

    • I know what you mean. Art is such an individual experience in some ways. We like what we like, and the reasons are so personal to us and we often don’t even know why. I love how you describe that about this painting. Yes, beautiful!!!

  15. The color yellow stands out for me in this painting. Yellow is such a happy color. Here, the sunlit view matches your poem beautifully. It speaks of hope, of wishing good things for our beloveds, of dreams come true.

    • I love that interpretation, and I agree with you. I don’t think there is anything negative in the painting because I think it’s about the man’s joy and his hope for the future.

  16. Being supportive and supported is a hard balance, especially for women. This is a husband we all can admire. (K)

  17. This is such a great interpretation of the painting Luanne 💕

  18. I like the prologue for your poem. I’m sure female artists, then as now, have more challenges to get their work recognized. To have a supportive husband had to help the artist.

  19. Beautiful, Luanne, and – as always – thought–provoking!

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