The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Morisot, Berthe

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MORISOT, mō'rē-sō, Berthe (Madame Eugène Manet), French painter: b. 1840; d. 1895. As great-granddaughter of Fragonard she inherited from this great French painter his gracefulness, his spirited elegance and other fascinating qualities. Her natural talents she placed under the influence of Corot, Renoir, Dégas and Manet. Having married Eugène Manet, brother of the great painter, she exhibited with the “Impressionists,” but always signed her pictures Berthe Morisot, delicately respecting Manet's great name. She acquired her own reputation by distinguished and beautiful coloring and dash. She was as much admired for her beauty as for her talent. A French critic sums up her qualities as follows: “All her work is bathed in brightness, in azure, in sunlight; it is a woman's work, but it has a strength, a freedom of touch and an originality, which one would hardly have expected. Her water-colors, particularly, belong to a superior art: some notes of color suffice to indicate sky, sea or a forest background and everything shows a sure and masterly fancy, for which our time can furnish no analogy. A series of Berthe Morisot's pictures looks like a veritable bouquet, whose brilliancy is less due to the color-schemes which are comparatively soft (gray and blue) than to the absolute correctness of the values. A hundred canvases and perhaps 300 water-colors attest this talent of high mark. Normandy coasts, scenes with pearly skies and turquoise horizons, radiant gardens of Nice, fruit-laden orchards, girls in white dresses, with big hats wreathed in flowers, young women in ball-dresses and flowers are the favorite themes of this artist.”