MANET, Edouard
(b. 1832, Paris, d. 1883, Paris)

Repose - Portrait of Berthe Morisot

Oil on canvas, 148 x 113 cm
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

The two Morisot sisters, Edma and Berthe, were not only women of great character, they were also very talented painters. Manet met them in the Louvre, where they were copying. Both sisters were infatuated with the handsome painter. Berthe received from him not lessons but advice, and became his favourite model.

Manet returned several times to painting Berthe Morisot's languishing face and languishing attitudes. He clearly sought something more than the merely pictorial in this strange young woman, who was always dressed soberly in Manet's favourite colours, black and white. Her face inspired Manet, as witness the many rapidly brushed portraits without a trace of pentimenti. In the Repose, he effortlessly conveys the ardent soul of the young woman.