(b. 1841, Bourges, d. 1895, Paris)
French painter and printmaker. As the child of upper middle-class parents, she was expected to be a skilled amateur artist and was thus given appropriate schooling. In 1857 she attended drawing lessons with Geoffroy-Alphonse Chocarne (active 1838-1857), but in 1858 she and her sister Edma left to study under Joseph-Benoit Guichard, a pupil of Ingres and Delacroix. In the same year they registered as copyists in the Louvre, copying Veronese and Rubens. The sisters were introduced to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot in 1861 and took advice from him and subsequently from his pupil, Achille-François Oudinot (1820-1891). Through these artists they became familiar with current debates on naturalism and began to work en plein air, painting at Pontoise, Normandy and Brittany.
She formed a close friendship with Manet, who became her brother-in-law, and she served as model for several of his best-known paintings. The two greatly influenced each other's artistic development. Her own later work inclined toward pure Impressionism in its rendering of light, while retaining an unusual smoothness of brushwork. Her paintings formed an important addition to all but one Impressionist exhibition from 1874 through 1885. Her most notable works, including Young Woman at the Dance (1880; Paris) and La Toilette (Art Institute, Chicago), are painted in clear, luminous colours. Her early subject matter included landscapes and marine scenes; later she most frequently painted tranquil portraits of mothers and children.
Morisot's works have been particularly popular in the United States, and many important works are in American collections.