Description: Berthe Morisot grew up in a family that encouraged her interest in art. She saw exhibitions in Paris and received painting lessons from the great landscapist Camille Corot. By 1864, Morisot’s work had gained acceptance at the annual Paris Salon, although she would soon reject official art for the vanguard Impressionist circle. In 1874, she married Eugène Manet, brother of artist Édouard Manet, an influential figure in the history of Impressionism.
In 1890, Morisot, her ailing husband, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Julie, spent half the year in Mézy, a village in the French countryside, where they hoped the fresh air would help restore Eugène’s health. Morisot painted Peasant Girl among Tulips that spring, seeing in the sturdy features of a French peasant girl the fragile beauty of a tulip. Morisot consciously rhymed the swirling brushwork in the girl’s unadorned dress with the swirling forms of the tulip leaves. The wisps of hair curling away from her face are like spent tulip petals about to fall to the ground. Even the girl’s delightful oval face is shaped like a tulip blossom. Her hands, stained brown from working in fields, connect her to the rural French countryside, a virtuous place capable of producing lovely flowers and lovely young girls.