Urgent Museum Notice

Berthe Morisot

A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned adult woman sitting upright in a luxurious velvet chair. Her dark hair is meticulously curled, and she wears a fascinator, a collar necklace with a bow, long gloves, and a long, sleeveless dress embellished with many frills.

Photo courtesy of Yves Rouart and Galerie Hopkins-Custot, Paris

1841–1895

Morisot’s mother supported her daughter’s ambitions by allowing her a serious art education. She flourished artistically, copying old-master paintings at the Louvre, studying under the Barbizon painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and learning plein-air (outdoor) painting.

During the 1860s, Morisot developed a close professional relationship with Edouard Manet. In 1864, she began submitting works to the Paris Salon, where she showed regularly through the rest of the decade. In 1874, Morisot was invited to exhibit with the Société Anonyme des Artistes-Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs—a landmark event that would become known as the first exhibition of the Impressionists.

Morisot achieved significant critical recognition during her lifetime, although 19th- and 20th-century critics focused on the “feminine” qualities of her work: intuitiveness, spontaneity, and delicacy. Her work was included in George Petit’s International Exhibition in Paris as well as in Paul Durand-Ruel’s exhibition of Impressionist painting in New York, both in 1887.

Married to Eugène Manet (brother of Edouard Manet), Morisot had one daughter, Julie, whom she painted frequently and who provided the inspiration for her paintings documenting women’s lives, including Jeune femme en toilette de bal at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Berthe Morisot
  • Birth

    Bourges, France, 1841
  • Death

    Paris, 1895
  • Phonetic Spelling

    behrt moh-reeh-zoh

Works by Berthe Morisot

The Cage

Painted in 1885, The Cage typifies Berthe Morisot’s mature style, pushing the boundaries of Impressionism.

About 1880, Morisot, Edouard Manet, and Eva Gonzalès began experimenting with painting on unprimed canvas. The texture of the heavy woven fabric affected Morisot’s paint application, which became increasingly loose and sketchy.

Using a limited palette dominated by brown, white, and green, the artist constructed a...

Rendered in loose, impressionistic brushstrokes in muted pastel tones, the still life painting depicts a brass birdcage with two small birds cuddled next to each other on a perch. The cage sits adjacent to and partially obscures a bowl of lush red, yellow, and white flowers.