Now known as The Mother and Sister of the Artist
Oil on canvas
39 3/4 x 32 1/4 in. (101 x 81.8 cm)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
"Now take Mlle Morisot! That young lady is not interested in reproducing trifling details. When she has a hand to paint, she makes exactly as many brushstrokes lengthwise as there are fingers, and the business is done. Stupid people who are finicky about the drawing of a hand don't understand a thing about Impressionism, and great Manet would chase them out of his republic."
Louis Leroy, Le Charivari, 25 April 1874
"Berthe Morisot had submitted to the jury...a double portrait of her mother and her sister which had
caused her a great deal of anxiety. Puvis de Chavannes having criticized the head of Mme Morisot,
the artist retouched it and then asked Puvis to come and judge it again; but the latter had excused
himself. "Until then my worries weren't too bad", she wrote a few days later to her sister. "Tired,
nervous, I go to see Manet in his studio. He asks me how things are and - perceiving my indecision
- says in high spirits: 'Tomorrow, after my shipment [to the Salon], I shall come to see your picture,
and believe you me, I shall tell you what ought to be done.' The next day he arrives around one o'clock,
says that everything is fine, except for the lower part of the dress. He takes some brushes, puts in
a few accents - mother is enraptured. But here my troubles begin: once he has started, nothing can
keep him back; from the skirt he proceeds to the bodice, from the bodice to the head, from the head
to the background. He is full of a thousand jests, laughs like a child, hands me the palette, takes it back...
at last, by five in the afternoon, we had produced the prettiest little caricature that can be seen. They were
waiting to take it away; he makes me put it willy-nilly on the pushcart and I remain behind, completely
confounded. My only hope is that it will be rejected. Mother considers the whole adventure funny, though
I find it rather distressing."
Rewald, "The History of Impressionism"