Paule Gobillard
Last updated November 28, 2006
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This page is intended to make an attempt to rectify the dearth of information on the web (and in published media) about the life of the artist Paule Gobillard (1867-1946). I am posting this just before having significant surgery: I have had the idea for some time now, and I want to do this before my surgery.

Paule Gobillard was the niece of the French Impressionist painter, Berthe Morisot. There were three Morisot sisters: Yves (Paule's mother), Edma (who married Adolphe Pontillon), and Berthe. All three were talented painters, though Yves and Edma abandoned their painting -- Yves before marriage and Edma after marriage. Berthe Morisot was the quintessential Impressionist and was also the glue that held the other Impressionists together, even after they had gone their separate ways in regards to exhibiting. Thus Paule (as well as her sister Jeannie and their cousin Julie Manet, daughter of Berthe Morisot and Eugène Manet, brother of the painter Edouard Manet) grew up in a context very rich in art. Not surprisingly, Paule began painting, and she herself become an accomplished artist, exhibiting at the Salons.

Nevertheless, the only published works that I have found about her are sketchy, most often published in relation to exhibitions of her works. The same is true of the internet web sites that refer to her. In fact, there is even confusion about the year of her birth. So, I am going to publish this web page which will give a chronology of her life and will also address and correct the confusion about her birth year.

What year was Paule Gobillard born?

Some sources have her birth year as 1867 and others -- some of which are quite important in that they are sources to which people are likely to turn because of their association with significant exhibitions or sales of her works -- give her birth year as 1869. The correct date is December 3, 1867, which is confirmed by Julie Manet in her diary entry for December 3, 1895 (p. 78): "Paule is twenty-eight today. In fact I find this age very yount, and younger still to be the head of a household. Poor Paule -- perhaps it's even harder for her than for us." Julie and Paule and Paule's sister Jeannie were all living together at this time, after they had all been orphaned. So Julie is observing an event about which she is not likely to have made an error.

So where did the 1869 date come from? The 1869 birthdate appears to have been introduced between 1997 and 1999. The 1869 date appears to have originated at or before the 1999 retrospective exhibition of some of her works at Galerie Scot in Paris. It also appears that the source may have been her nephew François Valéry. The catalogue for that 1999 exhibition (which contains an introduction by François Valéry) gives her birth year as 1869. It even contains a family tree -- in nearly the same format and shading as in the 1997 Clairet Berthe Morisot catalogue, which gives her birthdate as 1867!! The 1869 birthdate again appeared in the catalogue of her nephew François Valéry's sale of many of her works at the Calmels-Cohen auction in Paris on July 30, 2004.

Chronology of Paule Gobillard's life

  • 1867 - December 3: Born at Quimperlé, France (on the south coast of Brittany between Nantes and Brest) to Yves Morisot (1838-1893) and her husband Théodore Gobillard (1833-1879) [Edgar Degas painted her Mother that same year.]
  • 1870 - Death of maternal maternal Great-Grandmother Marie-Caroline (Mayniel) Thomas (born 1793)
  • 1872 - Birth of brother Marcel Gobillard
  • 1874 - Death of maternal Grandfather Edme-Tiburce Morisot (born 1806)
  • 1876 - Death of maternal Grandmother Marie Joséphine Cornélie (Thomas) Morisot (born 1819)
  • 1877 - Birth of sister Jeanne Gobillard; Death of maternal maternal Great-Grandfather Jean-Simon Joseph Thomas (born 1788)
  • 1879 - Death of her Father, Théodore Gobillard (born 1833)
  • 1883 - Death of aunt Berthe Morisot's brother-in-law, the painter Édouard Manet (born 1832)
  • 1884 - Painted by her aunt Berthe Morisot
  • 1887 - Painted twice by her aunt Berthe Morisot (Paule Gobillard, Peignant [Clairet #218] and Paule Gobillard en Robe de Bal [Clairet #214])
  • 1892 - Death of aunt Berthe Morisot's husband Eugène Manet (born 1834)
  • 1893 - Death of Mother, Yves (Morisot) Gobillard (born 1838); Paule and Jeanne move into home of recently-widowed aunt Berthe Morisot (Mme. Eugène Manet) and their cousin Julie Manet at 40 rue de Villejust (now rue Paul Valéry), who move to an apartment in Rue Weber since Berthe Morisot does not wish to live where the memories of her cherished husband remind her of the past
  • 1894 - Paule begins to exhibit her paintings; Death of aunt Edma Morisot's husband, Adolphe Pontillon (born 1832)
  • 1895
  • 1896 - Photographed by Edgar Degas with the poet Stéphane Mallarmé
  • 1898 - Death of Stéphane Mallarmé, to whom Berthe Morisot had left the care of Julie Manet and the two Gobillard sisters
  • Unknown Date Painted by her cousin Julie Manet
  • 1900 - Double marriage of sister Jeanne Gobillard to Paul Valéry and cousin Julie Manet to Ernest Rouart
  • 1901 - Birth of Julien Rouart (son of cousin Julie Manet and Ernest Rouart)
  • 1903 - Paule exhibits 8 paintings at the Salon of the Independents; Birth of nephew Claude Valéry
  • 1906 - Paule becomes member of the Fall Salon; Birth of niece Agathe Valéry; Death of widow of Édouard Manet, Suzanne Leenhoff (born 1830); Birth of Clément Rouart (son of cousin Julie Manet and Ernest Rouart)
  • 1908 - Birth of Denis Rouart (son of cousin Julie Manet and Ernest Rouart)
  • 1916 - Birth of nephew François Valéry
  • 1921 - Death of aunt Edma (Morisot) Pontillon (born 1839); Death of cousin Jeanne Pontillon (born 1921)
  • 1922 - Death of brother Marcel Valéry (born 1872)
  • 1942 - Death of cousin Julie Manet's husband Ernest Rouart
  • 1945 - Death of brother-in-law Paul Valéry
  • 1946 - Dies in Paris - I do not know the date, and I do not know where she is buried.

    Posthuomous Retrospective Exhibitions and Sales

  • 1949 – Retrsopective exhibition at Durand-Ruel
  • 1999 – 23 Sep-31 Oct: Exhibition at Galerie Scot (Paris)
  • 2004 – June 30: Sale at Calmels-Cohen (Paris) of over 100 of her works from the collection of nephew François Valéry


  • Calmels-Cohen 30 June 2004 Auction catalogue: This auction had over 100 of her works.
  • Arbre Généalogique in Alain Clairet; Delphine Montalant; Yves Rouart. Berthe Morisot 1841-1895 Catalogue Raisonée de l’Oeuvre Peint. CÉRA-nrs.: Paris, 1997. (pp. 370-371)
  • Manet, Julie, translated, edited and with an introduction by Rosalind de Boland Roberts and Jane Roberts. Growing Up with the Impressionists: The Diary of Julie Manet. Sotheby’s Publications: London & New York, 1987.
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