About this artwork

This painting belongs to a series of works from 1883 and 1884 showing the artist’s daughter, Julie Manet, and a nurse or female companion. The composition appears to imitate the natural focus of the eye, becoming more sketch-like and indistinct towards the periphery. The device of the central tree, dividing the canvas into two distinct spheres, evokes the separate worlds of the nurse and child and may indicate the influence of Japanese prints. Morisot spent the summers of 1880 to 1884 at a house in Bougival, northwest of Paris, and also painted frequently in the Bois de Boulogne. This painting was probably painted in one of these locations.

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot’s passion for painting was apparent from an early age, and she persuaded her parents to allow her to have professional tuition. In 1861 she began to work out of doors at Ville d'Avray as Corot's pupil, and from 1864 to 1873 she exhibited fairly regularly at the Salon. In 1868 she met Edouard Manet, whose art she greatly admired. She married his brother Eugène six years later. When the first Impressionist exhibition was held in 1874, Morisot joined the group and agreed never again to send work to the Salon. Morisot was a faithful exhibitor at all eight Impressionist exhibitions (1874-1886). Like the other Impressionist painters, she was preoccupied by capturing light, but she also used broad strokes of colour that echo what she had observed in Manet’s work.