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Berthe Morisot
(1841-1895)

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Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), French Impressionist painter. She was the daughter of a top civil servant in the Department of Cher and a grand-niece of the Rococo painter Fragonard. She started to take lessons in drawing in 1857. Berthe Morisot was a tireless copyist. She began with the Old Masters and ended with Corot, whose work she had the advantage of discussing with the artist himself. In 1860-1862 she was a pupil of Corot together with her sister Edna (later Mme Pontillon). Corot advised her to go to Auvers-sur-Oise and learn to paint plein-air.

Influenced by Camille Corot and Édouard Manet, she gave up her early classical training to pursue an individualistic Impressionistic style that became distinctive for its delicacy and subtlety. In 1874 she married Eugene Manet, the brother of Edouard Manet. Among her closest friends and admirers was the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé, whom she met in her brother-in-law's (Edouard Manet) house. 

 

Manama 1972. Edouard Manet. Portrait of Berthe Morisot. France 1995. Berthe Morisot. "The Cradle". New Caledonia 1986. Berthe Morisot. "Buttrfly Hunt".
France 2006. Berthe Morisot: "Chasing Butterflies". created 1874.

Her technique, based on large touches of paint applied freely in every direction, give her works a transparent, iridescent quality. She worked both in oil and in water colour, producing mainly landscapes and scenes of women and children. 

  • France 2006. Berthe Morisot: "Chasing Butterflies". created 1874. Issued in a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps dedicated to the Impressionists. The stamp is a so-called NVI (No Value Indicated), and is permanently valid for domestic letters [within France] up to 20 grams. 

In 1892 she lost her husband, and bought a château in Mesnil, where she lived until her death three years later. In 1895, after her death a large memorial exhibition took place at Durand-Ruel’s with 300 pictures; the catalogue introduction was written by her friend Stéphane Mallarmé. 

With her fresh, bright impressions of happy domestic life, Berthe Morisot was an important contributor to Impressionism.

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