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Morisot, a French painter, 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 with her sister Edna (later Mme
Pontillon). Corot advised her to go to Auvers-sur-Oise and
learn to paint plein-air.
In 1864, Berthe exhibited her first landscapes in the Salon. In 1868, she
got acquainted and soon became friends with Manet,
who gave her advice and painted her portraits (Repose,
Balcony, etc.). In 1872, she traveled in Spain. Starting with
1874 and until 1886 she exhibited at all the Impressionists exhibitions
apart from the 4th due to illness. In 1874, she married Manetís brother
Eugène. In 1881-1883, they had a house built in Paris which became
a weekly meeting place for painters and writers such as Degas,
Caillebotte, Monet, Pissaro,
Puvis de Chavannes,
and others. Mallarmé became her closest friend and greatest admirer.
Berthe painted especially women and children, and was the leading female
exponent of Impressionism.
In 1892, she was widowed, bought a château in Mesnil. In 1895, after
her death a large memorial exhibition took place at Durand-Ruelís with
300 pictures; the catalogue introduction was written by Mallarmé.
With her fresh, bright impressions of happy domestic life, she made an
important contribution to Impressionism.
Morisot: The First Lady of Impressionism by Margaret Shennan.
Sutton Publishing, 2000.
Morisot by Anne Higonnet. University of California Press, 1995.
Morisot by Kathleen Adler, Tamar Garb. Phaidon Press Inc.,
Quartet : The Intimate Genius of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt
by Jeffrey Meyers. Harcourt, 2005.