whoever you want to be…

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot was born in 1841 in Bourges, France (if you take a map of France and stick a thumbtack square in the middle, you’ll probably hit Bourges).  When her bourgeois family (almost a pun, she was from Bourges and was “upper” class) moved up to Paris, Berthe had the chance that a lot of young women of the time didn’t have.

Familial support when she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in art.

Let’s just ponder that for a second.  We aren’t discussing taking a “genteel” class or two from a governness figure or sitting around the family drawing room sketching, dutifully occupying her time as a young lady while she waited for the right man to ask for her hand in marriage.

At the age of 20, she became a copyist at the Louvre.

By the time she was 23, she was already hanging at the Salon de Paris (hanging as in her paintings).  By the age of 27, Morisot and Manet were close friends and while some say that Manet was the mentor, others say that their friendship and working relationship was reciprocal.  It was Morisot who pulled Manet out of his studio to paint outside.  It was Morisot that brought Manet into the circle of Impressionists.

While Morisot may have had her family’s support (and that of her husband’s later on (Edouard Manet’s younger brother Eugène)) but she didn’t necessarily have that of society’s.  Her subjects of predeliction were most often interiors where her friends could sit for her and interestingly enough,her sensitivity to fashion trends was reflected.  Perhaps her interiorisations were subtle forms of advertising to an audience that was largely feminine.

It is an interesting thought.

Whatever the case, Morisot’s career was cut short when she contracted pneumonia while caring for her daughter who’d been stricken by that same illness.  Morisot died in 1895, leaving us her impressive legacy of paintings.


The Cradle (1872)


The Bath (1885-86)


Portrait of Berthe Morisot and her Daughter (1886)


Little Girl with a Blue Jersey (1886)


Portrait of Julie (1889) (Morisot’s daughter)


The Bowl of Milk (1890)


Young Girl with a Basket (1891)

And a daughter set to create a legacy of her own.

About jchevais

Canadian expat turned Parisian Burb Babe. It's so lovely.


This entry was posted on February 4, 2013 by in Bea Creative and tagged , , .
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