Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot

Early life

Among the early impressionist painters, Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot was the only woman to have been recognized as a professional artist. She was the daughter of a high-ranking government official and the granddaughter of a prominent Rococo painter, Jean-Honore Fragonard. Her family was well-off and her father was a trained architect who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. However, her parents did not want their daughter to become a professional artist. She was instead educated in the traditional feminine way, primarily studying art in the Louvre Museum. She received appropriate art lessons, singing and etiquette lessons, and received a traditionally feminine education.

Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot

During her teenage years, Berthe began to study with a French landscape painter, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and later studied art with Joseph-Benoit Guilchard. During this time, she studied with several other artists, including Henri Fantin-Latour and Edgar Degas. She also studied the works of other classic French landscape artists, such as Jean-Baptiste Guillement. She was very interested in the balance of figures and light, which she found in the paintings of these artists. She incorporated these motifs into her own work. Her pastels create a delicate atmosphere that is filled with cotton candy skies and porcelain-like skin.

Although she was not able to paint a portrait of herself, Berthe was a highly skilled artist. She modeled for many of her paintings and painted portraits of her sister Edma. She also studied Old Masters at the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s. She and her sister Edma became close friends with artist Edouard Manet. After their marriage, they both worked as writers and artists, and their home became a meeting place for intellectuals.

As an emerging painter, Morisot continued to exhibit her works. Her work was generally well-received and she was a fixture at the Salon for many years. Her paintings often depicted her family, and she also portrayed everyday life, such as street scenes and rural scenes. She was also influenced by Japanese prints and photography. She also used charcoals and color pencils. When she painted outdoors, she used watercolours. In her final years, she also experimented with pastels. She used a limited palette of color and used barely tinted whites.

Morisot’s artistic career spanned several decades. After her marriage, she began painting domestic scenes. She had one daughter, Julie, who posed for several painters as a child. In addition to these paintings, she drew classical figures during this period. She exhibited with the Impressionists in 1877 and 1878, but was not able to attend the 1879 and 1879 exhibitions because of ill health. She also contributed to the 1887 Les XX show in Brussels.

Despite her success, Morisot struggled to make a living from her art. Her husband, Eugene Manet, remained supportive of her. When he died in 1895, his wife continued to sell her work. She exhibited her work with other avant-garde artists, including Pierre Bonnard and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In fact, she was the only woman to show with the impressionists at their first exhibition.


During the nineteenth century, Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot, also known as Berthe Manet, was one of the first artists to embrace the Impressionist movement. Her paintings are characterized by soft, glowing strokes of paint that create a translucent quality. Her paintings often capture the spontaneity of flower gardens and the private spaces of women. Her style contrasts with the Rococo and classical French landscapes of her contemporaries. Her work was exhibited in the Paris Salon and is now in the collection of the Musee d’Orsay.

In addition to painting, Morisot dabbled in drawing and sculpting. She was particularly fond of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Her paintings of women and maids are often a study in domestic life and fashion. She avoided the more erotic scenes of her peers. She preferred working outdoors in natural sunlight. She also liked to use pastels with her oil paints.

After her marriage to Eugene Manet, he began to support her artistic career. Their home became a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. He also provided financial stability for his wife. He died of a long illness in 1892. He left his daughter Julie with the remainder of his collection. She became the primary source of artistic inspiration for her mother. She died of pneumonia on March 2, 1895. Her grave is located at the Cimitiere de Passy in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

As the Franco-Prussian War started, the Morisot family moved to the western part of Paris. When the war ended, the Second Empire came to an end. During this time, Paris was under German supervision. As a result, the area below Passy was a site of resistance to the new national government. Many works by Morisot were destroyed. However, in the early twentieth century, she received credit for her paintings almost a century after her death. In 2019, the Musee d’Orsay will hold a temporary exhibition of her works.

Her father, Edme Tiburce Morisot, was a political figure. He worked for the French government. He was determined to produce paintings that would sell. He built a studio in the family’s garden in 1865. His desire for a studio may have contributed to his daughter’s illness.

After the death of her husband, she continued to pursue her artistic career. Her art earned respect from her male peers. She was especially fond of landscapes and portraits. She was also interested in watercolors. Her most famous portraits include Repose and The Balcony. Her work is a mix of oils and pastels, and she often mixed watercolors with her oil paints. She enjoyed working outside, capturing the light and color of the day.

Her early works show the influence of Corot. Her first exhibition was in 1864. She was accepted into the Paris Salon in 1866. She submitted a few works, but her reputation did not grow as rapidly as other painters. In 1878, she was ill and missed an exhibition. Her work failed to inspire the same level of public interest that her contemporary, Monet, did.