Berthe Morisot was born in Bourges, France in 1841. She was born into a wealthy and successful burgeois family. One of her ancestors was Fragonard, one of the most celebrated Rococo painters. Berthe received the conventional education in drawing and painting. She studied under Camille Corot's influence, and adopted the method of painting en plein air that was associated with the Impressionists. As art students Berthe and her sister Edma worked closely together, but their painting companionship ceased when Edma married, had children, and no longer had time to paint so intensely as her sister.
Berthe later began her long and close friendship with Edouard Manet, who became her brother-in-law in 1874. Morisot remained under Manet’s artistic influence throughout her career. Morisot and Manet adopted more conservative approach in painting than most of other impressionsits. Morisot, however, did encourage Manet to adopt the Impressionists' palette and to abandon the use of black.
At the age of 23, in 1864 she was admitted for exhibition in the prestigeous Salon de Paris. Two of her landscapes were accepted.
In 1874 Morisot exhibited at the first exhibition of the Impressionists called the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected). This show was organized by the “Société anonyme des peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs” (Anonymous society of painters, sculptors and engravers) founded by Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Guillaumin and Berthe Morisot. It was held at the studio of the photographer Nadar. The same year Morisot married Manet's brother, Eugene, and they had one daughter, Julie.
Morisot had developed her own distinctive artistic style, and rebelled against the conventions of the academies. Her own carefully composed, bright canvases usually represent women. She potrayed domestic life as well as her family and friends. Her oeuvre also includes landscapes, garden settings, and boating scenes, and it beautifully reflects the cultural climate of the century. She was the first woman to join the Impressionists. Morisot and American artist Mary Cassatt belong to the most important women painters of the 19th century.
She died in 1895 in Paris and was interred in the Cimetière de Passy.