Boijmans collection enriched with work by Berthe Morisot

Museum acquires important work by female impressionist.

A new collection highlight for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The painting Peonies(Pivoines) by Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) is of undeniable importance for impressionism and the museum collection. Ina Klaassen is delighted with her first acquisition as director, adding that "We're doing justice to the diversity of this art movement." Peonies is now on display in a restoration studio at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Favicon for Perskit: Aankoop: Pivoines (Pioenrozen) - Berthe Morisot / Acquisition: Pivoines (Peonies) - Berthe Morisot | Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Newsroom

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen adds to its collection an important work by Berthe Morisot: Peonies, painted circa 1885 to 1887. This sketch-like painting fits perfectly with the museum's collection of impressionist works focussing on landscapes, including masterpieces by Sisley, Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne, and others. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen already owns a dry-point etching by Morisot: The Drawing Lesson (circa 1889), acquired in 1972 with the support of Stichting Lucas van Leyden. The museum was able to make this new acquisition possible with support from VriendenLoterij, funds from the estate of Mrs N.C. van Riemsdijk-Borsje, and through a private donor in memory of Ger Luijten (1956-2022). Peonies is now on display in one of the restoration studios at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen and will become part of the Highlights from the Collection presentation.

Ina Klaassen, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, says, "Peonies is an impressionist work through and through. By adding this beautiful painting by Berthe Morisot to our collection, we're doing justice to the diversity of this art movement."

Impressionists at Boijmans

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's world-renowned art collection now comprises over 152,000 objects, including a modest yet impressive collection of impressionist landscapes. Berthe Morisot exhibited at seven of the eight exhibitions organised by the impressionists and sold well during her lifetime, with much of her work collected in the United States. At the time, impressionist works were rarely collected in the Netherlands, if at all, and when collectors started to take notice of the impressionists in the 1920s, they overlooked female artists like Morisot. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is enriched by the acquisition of Peonies, with which it takes a step towards a more representative picture of French impressionism.

Peonies exudes impressionism

Peonies gives us an insight into Morisot's garden in Paris, where she mainly focused on one peony plant. Monet's gardens in Giverny are particularly well-known, but many other impressionists, like Morisot, painted outdoors in their own gardens or in Parisian parks. The painting plays with depth, for example leaving parts of the canvas unpainted at the top left, but filled in at the top right, as if we are looking into the garden. Although the painting has a subdued colour palette, Morisot manages to bring in a lot of life with her use of contrasting tones of a single colour. Particularly in the bush around the flowers, dark green lines stand out against the lighter greens, subtly suggesting individual leaves. Morisot also added a touch of whitish-pink in many places, harmonising the peony flowers against the rest of the scene.

In 1880, during the fifth impressionist exhibition in which Morisot showed female portraits with flowers in the background, art critic Charles Ephrussi wrote an apt critique that applies well to Peonies. "Berthe Morisot is very French in her distinction, elegance, gaiety and nonchalance. She loves painting that is joyous and lively; she grinds flower petals onto her palette in order to spread them later on her canvas with airy, witty touches, thrown down a little haphazardly. These harmonise, blend, and finish by producing something vital, fine, and charming." In both style and technique, this work exudes impressionism – its suggestion of spontaneity and a light touch, its emphasis on light, and its unpainted patches of canvas. It is therefore a welcome addition to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's collection of French impressionism.

Peonies by Berthe Morisot is on display at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen on an easel in a restoration studio. Afterwards, it will move to gallery 1 to join the Highlights from the Collection presentation.


Peonies (Pivoines) (circa 1885-1887) by Berthe Morisot was acquired thanks to the support of FriendsLottery, funds from the estate of Mrs N.C. van Riemsdijk-Borsje, and through a private donor in memory of Ger Luijten (1956-2022). Luijten was director of Fondation Custodia and was a former Boijmans colleague involved in the Italian drawings (1400-1600) collection catalogue project.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Boijmans Van Beuningen – a home for imagination, inspiration and creativity.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

Contact details

Related topics

Receive Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen news on your RSS reader.

Or subscribe through Atom URL manually