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  • Berthe Morisot
    Jan 14, 1841 – Mar 2, 1895
  • The Cage - 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. In 1864, she exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris.
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The Cage
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  • The Cage

  • Berthe Morisot
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  • 1885
    Oil on canvas
    National Museum of Women in the Arts, United States.

    Painted in 1885, The Cage typifies Berthe Morisot’s mature style, pushing the boundaries of Impressionism.

    About 1880, Morisot, Edouard Manet, and Eva Gonzalès began experimenting with painting on unprimed canvas. The texture of the heavy woven fabric affected Morisot’s paint application, which became increasingly loose and sketchy.

    Using a limited palette dominated by brown, white, and green, the artist constructed a still life comprising a birdcage and a bowl of flowers set against an ambiguous background of choppily executed strokes of paint. A study of juxtaposed forms and solids against voids, The Cage demonstrates Morisot’s ability to give a painting the same unstudied appearance as a watercolor.

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stars Jacqueline from United States.
This painting exceeded my expectations. I am looking forward to buying more paintings. I love original artwork rather than posters.

Other paintings by Berthe Morisot:

After Luncheon
After Luncheon
The Bath
The Bath
A Summer's Day
A Summer's Day
Aboard a Yacht
Aboard a Yacht
Berthe MorisotBorn January 14, 1841, in Bourges, France. Berthe Morisot’s father was a high-ranking government official and her grandfather was the influential Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. She and her sister Edma began painting as young girls. Despite the fact that as women they were not allowed to join official arts institutions, the sisters earned respect in art circles for their talent.

Berthe and Edma Morisot traveled to Paris to study and copy works by the Old Masters at the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s under Joseph Guichard. They also studied with landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot to learn how to paint outdoor scenes. Berthe Morisot worked with Corot for several years and first exhibited her work in the prestigious state-run art show, the Salon, in 1864. She would earn a regular spot at show for the next decade.

In 1868, fellow artist Henri Fantin-Latour introduced Berthe Morisot to Édouard Manet. The two formed a lasting friendship and greatly influenced one another’s work. Berthe soon eschewed the paintings of her past with Corot, migrating instead toward Manet’s more unconventional and modern approach. She also befriended the Impressionists Edgar Degas and Frédéric Bazille and in 1874, refused to show her work at the Salon. She instead agreed to be in the first independent show of Impressionist paintings, which included works by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. (Manet declined to be included in the show, determined to find success at the official Salon.) Among the paintings Morisot showed at the exhibition were The Cradle, The Harbor at Cherbourg, Hide and Seek, and Reading.

In 1874, Berthe Morisot married Manet's younger brother, Eugène, also a painter. The marriage provided her with social and financial stability while she continued to pursue her painting career. Able to dedicate herself wholly to her craft, Morisot participated in the Impressionist exhibitions every year except 1877, when she was pregnant with her daughter.

Berthe Morisot portrayed a wide range of subjects—from landscapes and still lifes to domestic scenes and portraits. She also experimented with numerous media, including oils, watercolors, pastels, and drawings. Most notable among her works during this period is Woman at Her Toilette (c. 1879). Later works were more studied and less spontaneous, such as The Cherry Tree (1891-92) and Girl with a Greyhound (1893).

After her husband died in 1892, Berthe Morisot continued to paint, although she was never commercially successful during her lifetime. She did, however, outsell several of her fellow Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. She had her first solo exhibition in 1892 and two years later the French government purchased her oil painting Young Woman in a Ball Gown. Berthe Morisot contracted pneumonia and died on March 2, 1895, at age 54.