Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot (January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895) was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. She was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt. In 1864, she exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris. Sponsored by the government, and judged by Academicians, the Salon was the official, annual exhibition of the Académie des beaux-arts in Paris. Her work was selected for exhibition in six subsequent Salons until, in 1874, she joined the "rejected" Impressionists in the first of their own exhibitions, which included Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. She was married to Eugène Manet, the brother of her friend and colleague Édouard Manet. It was common practice for daughters of bourgeois families to receive art education, so Berthe and her sisters Yves and Edma were taught privately by Geoffroy-Alphonse Chocarne and Joseph Guichard. In 1857 Guichard introduced Berthe and Edma to the Louvre gallery where they could learn by looking, and from 1858 they learned by copying paintings. Morisot registered as a copyist at the Louvre where she befriended other artists and teachers including Camille Corot, the pivotal landscape painter of the Barbizon School who also excelled in figure painting. In 1860, under Corot's influence she took up the plein air (outdoors) method of working.
Morisot's first appearance in the Salon de Paris came at the age of twenty-three in 1864, with the acceptance of two landscape paintings. She continued to show regularly in the Salon, to generally favorable reviews, until 1873, the year before the first Impressionist exhibition. She exhibited with the Impressionists from 1874 onwards, only missing the exhibition in 1878 when her daughter was born. Morisot's mature career began in 1872. She found an audience for her work with Durand-Ruel, the private dealer, who bought twenty-two paintings. In 1877, she was described by the critic for Le Temps as the "one real Impressionist in this group." She chose to exhibit under her full maiden name instead of using a pseudonym or her married name. In the 1880 exhibition, many reviews judged Morisot among the best, including Le Figaro critic Albert Wolff. Morisot became the highest priced female artist in February 2013, when After Lunch (1881), a portrait of a young redhead in a straw hat and purple dress, sold for $10.9 million at a Christie's auction.