Happy 172nd Birthday, Berthe Morisot

In the groundbreaking 1874 exhibition of artists who would soon be dubbed the Impressionists, Berthe Morisot was the only female. Viewed at the time as one of the six central figures of the movement, alongside Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, Morisot forged close relationships with her fellow Impressionists, as well as other artists like Édouard Manet (who painted this intimate portrait of her). Following Morisot’s sudden death from pneumonia in 1895 at the age of 54, Renoir claimed that he had “the feeling of being all alone in a desert.” However, in spite of the bonds she forged with these men, Morisot still felt underappreciated. “I don’t think there has ever been a man who has treated a woman as an equal,” she wrote in one of her notebooks in 1890, “and that’s all I would have asked, for I know I’m worth as much as they.”