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MORISOT Berthe (1841-1895)
Le Cerisier

1891
Huile sur toile 154 × 84 cm
inv. 6020
Legs Annie Rouart (1993)
This cherry tree is Berthe Morisot’s most ambitious composition. She began it in Mézy in 1891 and completed it in Paris two years later. In their house, “la Maison Blotière,” the artist had Julie pose during cherry-picking. Perched on a ladder, the adolescent is being helped by her cousin Jeannie Gobillard, who is holding a basket for her. In her sessions working from life, Morisot produced a small painted sketch and several preparatory drawings. She returned to the composition in Paris, replacing Julie, who was rarely available, with a professional model, Jeanne Fourmanoir. Morisot painted two large-format versions of The Cherry Tree. The one held at the Musée Marmottan Monet is considered the more accomplished. For a while she considered taking Renoir’s advice and displaying the work at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars. In the end, though, the work had its first public showing in the retrospective put on at Durand-Ruel’s in 1896, a year after her death.