Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

c. 1869-73

Edouard Manet

(French, 1832-1883)

Oil on fabric

Framed: 91.1 x 76.5 x 7.3 cm (35 7/8 x 30 1/8 x 2 7/8 in.); Unframed: 74 x 60 cm (29 1/8 x 23 5/8 in.)

Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.34

Description

This painting depicts Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot (1841–1895), who began working closely with Edouard Manet around 1868. She married Manet's brother Eugéne in 1874. Manet painted Morisot's portrait several times, at first presenting her in static poses with neatly styled hair. About 1872 he began painting her in more momentary, fleeting states. In this painting she appears to be moving, her hair disheveled as she throws a furtive glance to the side. Manet's sketchy brushwork gives the painting a daring unfinished look, suggesting the tempo of modern life. Morisot's pensive, nervous expression suggests that Manet was sympathetic to her struggle for recognition at a time when women were not expected to pursue professional careers. Indeed, Morisot's parents were urging her to settle down to a more conventional life at the time.

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