6. Manet & Morisot & Manet

“Her name is Berthe Morisot, and she is a curiosity.” – Le Figaro, 1880

Welcome back to The Land of Desire, a French history podcast dedicated to exploring all the weird adventures, mysteries and surprising backstories behind French cultural icons. This week’s episode continues my new series which I’m really excited about: La Belle Époque, the Golden Age of Paris. This week I’ll focus on one of my favorite artists and female heroes, the Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. I wish I could devote an entire series to Berthe’s story, but today I’m going to focus on one of the more interesting, and underpublicized, aspects of her life: her complex relationship with Edouard Manet…and his brother, Eugene. Zut alors! Christmas must have been awkward at the Manet household… This week, put on your painter’s smock and join me as we discuss the inner lives of “Manet & Morisot & Manet”.

Episode 6: “Manet & Morisot & Manet”

Selected Paintings by Berthe Morisot:

The Cradle, Berthe Morisot, 1872.
The Cradle, 1872.
Julie Daydreaming, Berthe Morisot, 1894.
Julie Daydreaming, 1894.
Woman at Her Toilette, Berthe Morisot, 1880.
Woman at Her Toilette, 1880.
Summer's Day, Berthe Morisot, 1879.
Summer’s Day, 1879.

Portraits of a Lady:

Manet's first portrait of Berthe Morisot
The Balcony, Edouard Manet, 1869.
Manet portrait of Berthe Morisot
The Rest, Edouard Manet, 1870.
Berthe Morisot in Pink Slipper, Edouard Manet, 1870.
Berthe Morisot in Pink Slipper, Edouard Manet, 1870.
Berthe Morisot With Fan, Edouard Manet, 1874.
Berthe Morisot With Fan, Edouard Manet, 1874. Given as a gift to Berthe and Eugene on the occasion of their wedding.
Berthe Morisot with Violets, Edouard Manet, 1872.
Berthe Morisot with Violets, Edouard Manet, 1872. This portrait hung in the bedroom of Julie Manet.

Further Reading:

I can’t recommend Sue Roe’s The Private Lives of the Impressionists highly enough. It’s terrific, I’ve reread it multiple times, and it was one of my original inspirations for beginning this podcast.

I’ve recommended it before, but you may also enjoy Ross King’s The Judgment of Paris.



Dawn of the Belle Époque (Mary McAuliffe, 2011)

Berthe Morisot (Anne Higonnet, 1995)

The Private Lives of the Impressionists (Sue Roe, 2007)

  • My younger colleagues at work told me I must download a podcast series to listen to on my long subway ride home from Manhattan to Brooklyn. So after figuring it out, I am happy to report that I landed on yours and can’t get enough of them. Not only are the stories incredibly interesting, but you have an excellent reading voice for this medium……Very pleasant to listen to!
    Thank you for making my ride home more enjoyable!

    • Hi Lori,

      Thanks so much for listening and taking the time out of your day to leave a comment! I’m so delighted you enjoyed the podcast. Podcasts definitely help me get through long commutes too!

      Thanks for listening,


        • Hi Rachel, thanks so much for listening! My favorite podcast – and one to which I owe a deal of inspiration – is You Must Remember This. Next up is probably 99% Invisible, The Memory Palace, and Death Sex & Money. What about you?

  • I just listened to this podcast at the recommendation of a friend. I loved it. Well done. About 10 years ago I wrote a paper about Morisot and the influence of both Manet’s on her work and life, so this podcast pretty much summed up my paper perfectly. If you have not read Berthe’s or Julie’s diaries, I recommend them. Berthe’s were heavily edited before publication, so unfortunately no big reveals about infatuation with Edouard (It’s unlikely they would have been alone together even when he was painting her, as she was a well-bred lady who would never been unchaperoned.), but the diaries do give insight into what she was thinking about herself, her work, various artists and poets, and her family.

    This is my first listen to one of your podcasts. I can’t wait to listen to more.

    • Thank you so much for such a lovely comment, KT! I’m glad you enjoyed this episode, and I hope you’ll tune in for future episodes. I’ll certainly be covering lots of art history, as it’s a pet subject of mine. Julie’s diaries are indeed wonderful – I would also recommend reading Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir (the filmmaker) if you haven’t done so already. Like Julie, Jean was fascinated by the ornery, irascible but nevertheless passionate man. Since the wonderful NYRB reprint came out, it’s not too hard to track down!

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