Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895) was a painter and printmaker associated with the Impressionist movement and best known for her domestic scenes and portraits of women. In 1858, she studied with Joseph-Benoît Guichard (French, 1806-–1880), a student of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867) and Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863), and began copying the works of the Masters in the Louvre. Morisot became acquainted with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875), who introduced her to working en plein air, a key technique of the Impressionist group, of which she was a central member. She was a close friend and advisor to Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), and regularly interacted with artists and intellectuals such as Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919) and Stéphane Mallarmé.

She submitted many works to the Impressionist exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s, including The Cradle (1872), which was shown at the 1874 exhibition and was the first submission by a woman. The painting depicts one of Morisot’s sisters watching over her daughter, and it is the first of many images of motherhood in Morisot’s body of work. Paintings such as Woman and Child in the Garden at Bougival (1882) display the loose brushwork and focus on modern everyday life that have established Morisot as a quintessential Impressionist. Towards the end of her career, she turned to mythic subject matter and her brushwork became more linear, as seen in Cherry Tree (1891). In addition to paintings, Morisot produced pastels, watercolors, lithographs, and drypoints. In an auction at the Hôtel Drouot in 1875, her work sold for slightly higher prices than fellow artists Camille Pissarro (French, 1831–1903), Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) and Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), proving that she was a well-respected artist in her own time. Today, Morisot’s work is held in several museum collections, including the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Timeline

1841
Born in Bourges, France
1874
Married Manet's brother, Eugene, and had one daughter, Julie
1895
Died in Paris and was interred in the Cimetière de Passy

Exhibitions

1874
Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected)
1864
Salon de Paris