Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gonzales, Eva

Awaking girl
oil on canvas
101.5 x 82.5 cm
Kunsthalle, Bremen, Germany

Eva Gonzales (1849 - 1883) was a French Impressionist painter. She was born in Paris daughter of a Spanish, naturalized French, novelist, Emmanuel Gonzalèz, and a Belgian musician. In 1865, she began her professional training and took lessons in drawing from the society portraitist Charles Chaplin who was also Mary Cassatt's teacher. In 1869, she met Edouard Manet and became his student, colleague and model.

Like her teacher, Edouard Manet, she never exhibited with the Impressionist painters in their controversial exhibitions in Paris, but she is considered part of the group because of her painting style. She was Manet's only formal student and modeled frequently for several members of the Impressionist school. Until 1872, she was strongly influenced by Manet but later developed her own, more personal style. She included subtle emotion and richness of detail in her works. Her watercolors with their bright colors and soft forms achieved great success, though women painters working in France at the end of the 19th-century were marginalized because of the prejudice of the strict social rules for their gender. She exhibited for the first time at the Salon in 1870. Thereafter she submitted work every year to the Salon. Although she was always invited to exhibit with the other Impressionists, for some reason she preferred to show her work at the Official Salon.

Although her career was cut short when she died in childbirth at the age of thirty-four, exactly six days after the death of her teacher, Manet, she became known for her characteristic style for portraiture.