Young Woman Seated on a Sofa

Artist: Berthe Morisot (French, Bourges 1841–1895 Paris)

Date: ca. 1879

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 31 3/4 x 39 1/4 in. (80.6 x 99.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.103.2


At about the time that Morisot depicted this model in her Paris apartment, an admiring critic wrote: "she grinds flower petals onto her palette, in order to spread them later on her canvas with airy, witty touches…producing something vital, fine, and charming." The painter was then at her apogee, having melded the bravura brushwork adopted from her mentor and brother-in-law, Édouard Manet, with her own opalescent tints. Born into an upper-middle-class family, Morisot diverged from societal norms when she established herself as a professional artist, but was highly successful, participating in the official Salons and in seven of the eight Impressionist exhibitions.