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Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

(1841 - 1895)
Born: Bourges, France
Style: Impressionism
Famous Works:
  • The Cradle (1872)
  • In the Wheatfield at Gennevilliers (1875)
  • Reading (1888)
Berthe Morisot was the great-granddaughter of the eighteenth-century painter Jean-Honore Fragonard as well as the sister-in-law of Édouard Manet. Morisot's family supported her decision to become a painter. In fact, Berthe's sister Edma was also a serious painter, and the siblings were fortunate enough to study under Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Morisot's work was first displayed in the Salon de Paris when the artist was only twenty three years old; she would continue to show work at the Salon until the Impressionists broke away in 1873. By this time, Morisot had already forged a very important friendship with Édouard Manet, later marrying his brother, and there is evidence that the two painters contributed tremendously to one another artistically. Morisot was greatly influenced by Manet and frequently exhibited with other Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, and Paul Cézanne. Her work was included in the revolutionary show of 1874 that was organized in protest of the stale and unreceptive Salon. Morisot preferred to paint outdoors, creating loose compositions of active, open brushstrokes. The forms and figures are rendered not in a fussy, overdrawn manner, but instead demonstrate an exquisite, rapid touch. As a woman, Morisot was able to apply the impressionist's brush to subjects that were not often tackled by her male counterparts, including domestic scenes and fashion. Morisot completed many paintings of her daughter, sister, and mother situated in parks, cafés, or at the beach. Morisot's work expresses the Impressionists' desire to bring painting out of the conventional studios into the realm of everyday life, and to catch, in color, the informal way that we view the world.
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