Berthe Morisot was a defining artist of the Impressionist movement. Born into a wealthy Parisian family in 1841, Morisot was barred from formal art education because of her gender. Instead, under private tutors, she studied Old Master paintings at the Louvre Museum, where she met fellow artist Henry Fantin-Latour. In 1868 Fantin-Latour introduced Morisot to his painter friends Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas and through these contacts she entered Paris’s avant-garde art circles.
She developed a distinctive, unfinished style characterised by loose, dynamic brushstrokes. Her paintings were raw, full of movement and radical in their deliberate informality. Alongside Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and others, Morisot exhibited at the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, the only female artist to show in this first exhibition. She went on to exhibit at seven of the eight Impressionist exhibitions and was recognised as one of the movement’s most innovative artists. Famed art critic Paul Mantz wrote in his review of the third Impressionist Exhibition in 1877, ‘There is only one true Impressionist in the whole revolutionary group – and that is Mlle Berthe Morisot’.