“It looks as though I am coming to the end of my life without having achieved anything and only selling my work at bargain prices,” Morisot once lamented in a letter to her sister Edma, who received artistic training with Berthe, but gave up painting when she married. “It is terribly depressing.”
On her death certificate, Morisot was listed as being “without profession.” Her artistic identity has also been omitted from the street on which she lived and worked, which was renamed after the French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry, who married Morisot’s niece and lived in the house she built. Valéry’s 1926 essay “Aunt Berthe” equated Morisot’s paintings with the feminine 19th-century practice of journal-keeping, perpetuating a quaint, amateurish view of the pioneering artist.
But Morisot was no amateur; her contributions to art history are slowly re-emerging, revealing views of the feminine mundane that have been flipped and turned on their head in masterful strokes of pink and gray paint.