Marthe Orant was born, like Impressionism, in 1874. She belonged to the first generation of painters who grew up with the influence of the Impressionist circle. Upon completing her schooling, Orant became acquainted with the group of painters known as the Nabis that included the artists Serusier, Denis, Bonnard and Vuillard. Her friendship with the Nabis was to have a profound impact on her art, as she became a student of Bonnard and other artists connected to the group, as well as the apprentice of Vuillard.
Throughout her career she was a keen observer, incisively portraying daily life on Parisian streets, still-lifes of flowers, and landscapes of the French countryside, with a style that brought together all of her early influences. Orant showed regularly at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon de la Nationale and the Salon d’Automne, and was awarded the coveted Silver Medal at the 1937 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Over a twenty-year period the French government purchased several of her works, and in 1948 the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris acquired one of her paintings for its permanent collection.
Two major retrospectives were mounted after her death in Paris in 1957: first in 1962 at La Nationale des Beaux Arts followed in 1963 at the Salon des Indépendants. Since her death her paintings have been regularly exhibited throughout Europe and in the United States.