Berthe Morisot, the most mysterious of Manet's models, was a painter on her own, and would sold her paintings and exposed them to both praise and jeers.
When Madame Eugène Manet participated in the first Impressionist exhibition, held in 1874, she was no longer a novice. With her sister Edma, she had started to exhibit at the Salon of 1864 a number of small pictures - figures of fantasy and landscapes - in the manner of Corot who had given the sisters some advice.
After meeting Manet in 1867, the painting of Berthe developed rapidly and became bolder. Unlike Manet, she took part in all the Impressionist exhibitions at the exception of the one held in 1879.
One year later, she displayed Young Woman Powdering Herself, a theme that suited her taste for the light and luminous tones of silvery grey and pale pink, which were sometimes closer to pastel than oil painting. Critics used this delicacy to criticize the rest of the group even more fiercely.
Albert Wolff, whose portrait Manet had sketched, wrote, "There is also a woman in the group, as in most notorious gangs. She is called Berthe Morisot and she is interesting to observe. In her case, a feminine grace is maintained amid the outpourings of a delirious mind."