National Museum of Women in the Arts
Berthe Morisot
January 14 1841 - March 02 1895
Photograph of Berthe Morisot, unknown date, unknown photographer. Courtesy of Yves Rouart and Galerie Hopkins-Custot, Paris, France
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
behrt moh-reeh-zoh
Work Type/Media:
Painting, Sculpture
Artistic Role(s):
Oil Painter, Painter, Pastelist, Sculptor, Watercolorist
Artist's Biography:
Berthe Morisot identified herself as an Impressionist, the French nineteenth century group of artists who rebelled against the Salon and the highly refined academic works exhibited there. Associated with Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Degas, Morisot was included in seven of the eight Impressionist group exhibitions held between 1874 and 1886. Although she associated herself with the renegade group, as a woman painter Morisot often escaped the same unfavorable judgments the other Impressionists received. As a matter of course, nineteenth and twentieth century critics focused on the “feminine” qualities of her work; intuitiveness, spontaneity, and delicacy.

Born in Bourges, France, to an upper-class household, Morisot and her family moved to Paris in 1848. While educated in the arts like all young women in her social class, Morisot’s ability to paint well became evident to her instructor, Joseph-Benoît Guichard, early on in her training. 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 Camille Corot, and absorbing tenets of plein-air 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. Thereafter, Morisot never again returned to the Salon.

Morisot achieved significant critical recognition during her lifetime. Her work was included in George Petit’s International Exhibition 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 that document women’s lives, including Jeune femme en toilette de bal at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Other Occupation(s):
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Private lessons
Related Visual Artists:
wife of Eugène Manet sister of Edma Morisot mother of Julie Manet aunt and teacher of Paule Gobillard aunt and teacher of Jeannie Gobillard sister-in-law of Edouard Manet friend of Edgar Degas friend of Claude Monet friend of Pierre-Auguste Renoir friend of Mary Cassatt granddaughter of Jean Honoré Fragonard student of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot student of Achille-François Oudinot student of Honoré Daumier student of Aimé Millet student of Joseph-Benoît Guichard student of Geoffroy Alphonse Chocarne
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Founding Member, Impressionist Group, Paris, France (1874)
Earliest exhibition:
Le Salon, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (1864)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Berthe Morisot: An Impressionist and Her Circle
Artist retrospective(s):
Berthe Morisot: Impressionist, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum with the National Gallery of Art, South Hadley, MA, USA, & Washington, DC, USA (1987) Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, France (1941) Berthe Morisot: Exposition de son Oeuvre, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France (1896)
Related places
Paris (died at)
The Cage, 1885
Lake at Bois de Boulogne
The Cage