Cassatt, Mary
(b. May 22, 1844, Allegheny City, Pa., U.S.--d. June 14, 1926, Château de Beaufresne, near Paris, Fr.), American painter and printmaker who exhibited with the Impressionists.

(1844-1926) The daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman, whose French ancestry had endowed him with a passion for that country, she studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and then travelled extensively in Europe, finally settling in Paris in 1874. In that year she had a work accepted at the Salon and in 1877 made the acquaintance of Degas, with whom she was to be on close terms throughout his life. His art and ideas had a considerable influence on her own work; he introduced her to the Impressionists and she participated in the exhibitions of 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886, refusing to do so in 1882 when Degas did not.

She was a great practical support to the movement as a whole, both by providing direct financial help and by promoting the works of Impressionists in the USA, largely through her brother Alexander. By persuading him to buy works by Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Degas and Pissarro, she made him the first important collector of such works in America. She also advised and encouraged her friends the Havemeyers to build up their important collection of works by Impressionists and other contemporary French artists.

Her own works, on the occasions when they were shown in various mixed exhibitions in the USA, were very favourably received by the critics and contributed not a little to the acceptance of Impressionism there. Despite her admiration for Degas, she was no slavish imitator of his style, retaining her own very personal idiom throughout her career. From him, and other Impressionists, she acquired an interest in the rehabilitation of the pictural qualities of everyday life, inclining towards the domestic and the intimate rather than the social and the urban (Lady at the Teatable, 1885; Metropolitan Museum, New York), with a special emphasis on the mother and child theme in the 1890s (The Bath, 1891; Art Institute of Chicago). She also derived from Degas and others a sense of immediate observation, with an emphasis on gestural significance. Her earlier works were marked by a certain lyrical effulgence and gentle, golden lighting, but by the 1890s, largely as a consequence of the exhibition of Japanese prints held in Paris at the beginning of that decade, her draughtsmanship became more emphatic, her colors clearer and more boldly defined. The exhibition also confirmed her predilection for print-making techniques, and her work in this area must count amongst the most impressive of her generation. She lived in France all her life, though her love of her adopted countrymen did not increase with age, and her latter days were clouded with bitterness.

375 x 600 37.5K
37.5K, 375 x 600

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Painted: 1604
Pinacoteca Vaticana
Femme Cousant
(Young Woman Sewing in the Garden)
Painted: 1880-82
Oil on canvas
36 x 25 1/2 in
Musee d'Orsay

648 x 931 72.1K
72.1K, 648 x 931

636 x 471 44.3K
44.3K, 636 x 471

Two Women Seated by a Woodland Stream
Painted: 1869
Private Collection
At the Theater
Painted: 1879
Pastel on paper
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, MO

543 x 600 50.6K
50.6K, 543 x 600

452 x 600 44.6K
44.6K, 452 x 600

Margot in Blue
Painted: 1902
Pastel on heavy paper with light canvas back
The Walters Art Gallery
Baltimore, MD
(Mother and Child against a Green Background)
Painted: 1897
pastel on beige paper mounted on canvas;
Musee d'Orsay

426 x 600 41.7K
41.7K, 426 x 600

481 x 600 41.7K
41.7K, 481 x 600

Mother and Child
Painted: 1888
pastel on paper
Art Institute of Chicago
Mother and Child
(The Oval Mirror)
Painted: 1901
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York

492 x 600 36.8K
36.8K, 492 x 600

446 x 600 44.5K
44.5K, 446 x 600

Woman Reading in a Garden
Painted: 1880
Art Institute of Chicago
On a Balcony During a Carnival
Painted: 1873
Oil on Canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

495 x 600 45.6K
45.6K, 495 x 600

1042 x 786 130.2K
130.2K, 1042 x 786

The Boating Party
Painted: 1893-94
Oil on canvas
90.2 x 117.5 cm
National Gallery of Art
Woman in Black
(Femme en noir)
Painted: 1882
Oil on Canvas
100.6 x 74 cm

755 x 1064 178.2K
178.2K, 755 x 1064

464 x 600 49.0K
49.0K, 464 x 600

The Lamp
Painted: 1891
drypoint, soft ground
aquatint on paper
Art Institute of Chicago
La Toilette
Painted: 1891
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 x 26 in
The Art Institute of Chicago

691 x 1053 143.8K
143.8K, 691 x 1053

504 x 598 42.7K
42.7K, 504 x 598

The Toreador
Painted: 1873
Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago