Born to a wealthy and "haute bourgeoisie" lifestyle, painter Berthe Morisot would receive early training in drawing and painting and much support from her parents when she decided to pursue a professional career. Both she and her sister, Edme, studied under Barbizon school master Corot, who would also introduce them to many influential friends and painters.
She studied under Corot until 1868 and began to exhibit at the Salons in 1870. Her work would continue to be accepted by the jury for several years, during which time Morisot became well acquainted with many of the Impressionists. The most significant friendship of her life was made at this time with the painter Edouard Manet. The two would develop a life long friendship and professional exchange that greatly influenced both painters' works.
While it is often thought that Morisot was the pseudo-pupil of Manet, it was in fact a significantly more collaborative relationship. Morisot would encourage Manet to begin painting "en plein air", would exchange stylistic opinions and theories with Manet that would soon be reflected in his work, and was the individual that introduced him to the style and painters of the Impressionist movement. Manet's work would transition eventually from the school of Realism to that of the Impressionists.
By 1874 Morisot had decided to exhibit with the alternative Salon of the Impressionists, joining them in their very first show at the studio of photographer Nadar.
As a confirmed Impressionist, Morisot painted scenes of her day to day life, including images of gardens and landscapes, portraits and scenes of domestic life and family. She also tried her hand at marine subjects, but relied more often on the intimate scenes that her technical skills were better able to capture.
Because of her gender her proficiency as a painter was not initially regarded with the respect due to it, but as the Impressionist movement has come under decades of scrutiny, Morisot's work is now considered to be of the highest caliber and she herself a master of the school.
Her works are in many major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.