Wearing a chiffon-trimmed hat and holding a straw basket, Berthe Morisot’s young sitter waits, poised to pick flowers or fruit outdoors. The twisting backward view of the model, who was known as Cocotte, showcases Morisot’s skill in suggesting lightweight, transparent fabrics. The sumptuous layering of peach, pink, turquoise, and blue paint on Cocotte’s dress is a tour de force of color and exemplifies Morisot’s conviction that "real painters understand through the brush."
The painting is set in the green dining room of the artist’s home in Paris, with its peacock-patterned wallpaper and plate of apples sitting beside a blue Delft sugar bowl. Begun while Morisot’s husband, Eugène Manet, was ill and confined to a bedroom upstairs, the painting captures this suspended moment, caught between the stillness of a sickroom above and youthful energy and promise below.