Berthe Morisot’s letters to her sister Edma and Edouard Manet’s many portraits of Berthe strongly suggest that they were lovers. Manet admired Morisot’s work, relished her talk, and fell in love with her. Often alone together in his studio, they had ample time for intimacy. They burned each other’s letters when she married, both because they had something to hide and as a sign that their intimate relationship had come to an end. Though Manet did not paint Morisot after her marriage in 1874, their close friendship continued. He sent her an easel in the latest style as a New Year’s gift and urged her to try more rapidly executed and spontaneous pastel drawings. He also encouraged her to visit Venice which, he felt, would inspire her as it had once inspired him. She remained devoted to Manet during his lifetime and did everything she could to enhance his reputation after his death. Manet’s erotic portraits reveal not only the...


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