Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Berthe Morisot

Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot lived and worked primarily in the Rue des Moulins district of Paris. Her proximity to Paris’ museums and circle of artists gave her the opportunity to study under Camille Corot and become close friends with Édouard Manet, whose brother she eventually married.

Key piece to look for: Lesson in the Garden (La Leçon au Jardin) 1886.

Morisot is best known for her paintings of domestic life, characterized by her sketchy brushstrokes and luminous colors. Although she wished to paint en plein air, women painting outdoors in public were seen as improper. Instead, she painted nature through windows and trellises, children playing in private gardens, and intimate scenes of women undertaking daily tasks in domestic interiors. Since her work was tightly knit with her day-to-day life, she used close friends, family members, and her daughter, Julie, as models.

Image credit: Berthe Morisot, Lesson in the Garden, 1886. Oil paint on canvas; 23 5/8 x 28 3/4 in. Collection of Frederic C. Hamilton.

Laura Barton is an intern in the Denver Art Museum's education department. Her favorite artwork on view right now is Louis Anquetin's Avenue de Clichy (Street-Five O'clock in the Evening).