Eva Gonzalès was one of the foremost female Impressionists, together with Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. By the age of 16, she had already taken art lessons with the successful society portraitist Charles Chaplin. Three years later, she met Edouard Manet, becoming his only female pupil. Like Manet, she did not take part in the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, though in that same year, and even as early as 1870 and 1873, she earned recognition at the Salon, in particular with her delicate pastels. In 1879, she married the painter and engraver Henri-Charles Guérard, who was also a friend of Manet’s. Four years later, she died shortly after giving birth to her son. Her husband later married her sister Jeanne, who had often sat as a model for Eva Gonzalès, as is the case with this Bremen painting. Here, we see the young woman shortly after she has awakened, her gaze still dreamy and distant. Her delicate skin and black hair stand out vividly against the white-in-white of the bed, bedclothes, nightgown, and table ensemble shot through with shades of blue, beige, and pink shadows. A companion-piece sketch to this sensual portrayal is housed in a private collection. It shows Jeanne in an identical pose, her eyes closed in sleep, though the color tones are clearly more restrained.


  • Title: Girl Awakening
  • Creator: Eva Gonzalès
  • Date Created: c. 1877/78
  • Physical Dimensions: 81.1 x 100.1 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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