Berthe Morisot - Impressionist Painter: 1841 1895
Berthe Morisot was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. Undervalued for over a century, possibly because she was a woman, she is now considered among the first league of Impressionist painters.
Born into a family of wealth and culture, Berthe received the conventional lessons in drawing and painting. She went firmly against convention, however, in choosing to take these pursuits seriously and make them her life's work. Having studied for a time under Camille Corot, she later began her long friendship with Edouard Manet, who became her brother-in-law in 1874 and was the most important single influence on the development of her style. Unlike most of the other impressionists, who were then intensely engaged in optical experiments with color, Berthe and Edouard agreed on a more conservative approach, confining their use of color to a naturalistic framework. Berthe, however, did encourage Edouard to adopt the impressionists' high-keyed palette and to abandon the use of black. Her own carefully composed, brightly hued canvases are often studies of women, either out-of-doors or in domestic settings.
Her first appearance in the Salon de Paris came at the age of twenty-three in 1864, with the acceptance of two landscape paintings. Sponsored by the government, and judged by academicians, the Salon was the official, annual exhibition of the Académie des beaux-arts in Paris. Her work was selected for exhibition in six subsequent Salons until, in 1874, she joined the "rejected" Impressionists in the first of their own exhibitions. This group included Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.
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