Young Girl with Cat 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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Young Girl with Cat is a portrait painting by Berthe Morisot from 1892. It now resides within a private collection. Its original French title would have been Jeune Fille avec Chat.

This particularly feminine artwork features a young girl reclining back on some furniture, whilst stroking a cat which sits on her lap. She is dressed in an elegant dress, modestly styled and of light material. She wears a pearl necklace which fits tightly just below her chin. Her face is pretty, with light toned skin and a narrow jaw line which suited tastes at that time. Her lips are rose red and her cheeks slightly touched in colour. Her hair wraps around the back, with one length of it allowed to hang down over her right shoulder. She keeps a controlling grasp on the cat, no dout to ensure that it stayed in place for this portrait. The animal itself looks relaxed and very comfortable with this young girl. Morisot uses free and relaxed brushwork within this painting, with many areas being typical of the Impressionist style which differed from the precision of movements like the Realists.

There were countless numbers of female portraits within Morisot's career and she shared these topic with other female painters, such as Mary Cassatt. It was pleasing to find this part of society reflected more frequently towards the end of the 19th century and slowly, but surely, women would achieve a fairer role in society for the first time. The Cradle and Woman at her Toilette remain two of her most famous paintings of all, but there is also much to appreciate about the item in front of us here. It was rare for a female painter to achieve the success that Morisot was able to, but her impact went much wider than this, in helping ladies more generally to start to feel more valued within society as a whole and start a movement towards the levels of relative equality which are enjoyed today.

As shown in items such as Cassatt's young mother sewing and the cup of tea, Morisot was certainly not the only female painter of note within the late 19th century but some would argue that she was the best. The male colleagues such as Monet and Manet would entirely encourage them, perhaps possessing a more open-minded attitude than was found in other parts of the art industry at the time. Ultimately, their creative flair and technical knowledge would be rewarded in the end, and they also brought about a different perspective which undeniably added an extra dimension to the output of this influential group of painters.