The Artist's Daughter with a Parakeet Berthe Morisot Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Artist's Daughter with a Parakeet dates from 1890 and is an intimate portrait by Berthe Morisot. The artwork can now be found in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in the US.

The composition features a young girl dressed in a pretty pink dress. Her hair is auburn, which suits the clothing tone. She wears a small belt around her waist, with some bows to the back of the dress. Her hair is smart but simply styled, typical of a young girl at that time. She places are hands onto her lap and looks politely at the viewer. Her face is fairly round, with a delicate complexion typical of someone from a reasonably privileged background. Her dress features a vertically patterned series of stripes, though this is subtle and combines with the bright light which falls upon the girl. The background is dominated by a tone of blue which spreads across most of the wall behind, but we see the green bird perched happily in its cage to the left of the composition. There are also some other details around the cage, but these are not intended to attract our attention.

The painting derives from the Chester Dale Collection and takes pride of place in Gallery 82 of the West Building of this important gallery. It was sized at around 65cm in height and 52cm in width, ignoring the frame around it and this is roughtly the typical size used by Impressionist artists for their single figure portraits. By 1890, Morisot was highly skilled in female portraiture and had completed hundreds of drawings and paintings within this important genre. Within the Impressionist movement she was also joined by Mary Cassatt, who gifted us the likes of The Child's Bath, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and Children Playing on the Beach. There were also other French women who joined the group or who were inspired by the style of art being used by the group's members.

Julie Manet was the daughter of Morisot and her husband, Eugene Manet. She would model many times in her career, with another notable artwork being Child with Cat (Julie Manet) which was produced by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. One can tell it to be the same girl thanks to her round face and large eyes which are seen in both. Julie Manet would become a painter, model and art collector and lived until the 1960s, helping to continue the story of her mother, as well as the Manet family who were also highly significant within the direction of French art. Eugene Manet would also appear several times within Morisot's career, including Eugene Manet and his Daughter in the Garden and also Eugene Manet on the Isle of Wight.