4. The Signature

From a study of the signature under 12x magnification, the Strauss Center for Conservation indicates that the signature was added subsequent to the paint drying and crack patterns forming. However, the Strauss Center analysis only focussed on the first word "Berthe". There it is evident that the "B" and "r" are intersected by major cracks that formed before the work was signed. On the other hand, the word "Morisot" shows two cracks when viewed under 10x magnification that appear to be formed after the work was signed. The first is in the letter "M" and can be seen for comparison in the attached photographs. This crack is relatively clean except for 2 grains of sandy pigment that appear to have "moved" into the crack. (The second crack is in the letter "i", but cannot be seen at the camera magnification used).


It is not possible to date the time period after the work was completed that the signature was added.


The signature is done is a very grainy, almost sandy, yellow pigment. The pigment is not evident anywhere else in the work.


It was typical for Morisot not to sign her works (see attachment 4.1: Higonnet email this section). In fact, many of her known works were stamped by the estate after her death. Consequently, the fact that this work was signed sometime after the work's completion helps support its authenticity. Further, the choice of an unusual pigment (and color) suggests the work was signed as a matter of convenience for a potential purchaser, and that what was ever at hand was used for the purpose. (Another work,"Boats at Dawn", a pastel, was signed in red, while the work shows not other evidence of this color).


A series of actual painting signatures are shown in this section for comparison.


Expert opinion


Mr. Yves Rouart, on analysis of the painting, did not dispute the signature.


Mr. Gilles Perrault stated that there appears to be some varnish in the lower right corner where the signature was added, but this did not concern him because the paint in the area is obviously very old.

Figure 4.1 – Souvenir des bords de l’Oise, first name detail

Figure 4.2 – Souvenir des bords de l’Oise, last name detail

Figure 4.3 – Souvenir des bords de l’Oise, first and last names

Figure 4.4 – Dans le jardin à Maurecourt, circa 1883

Figure 4.5 – Jeune femme sur un banc, 1872

Figure 4.6 – Femme assise au Bois de Boulogne, 1885

Figure 4.7 – Deux femmes assises, circa 1869-1875