Women in Art

Mary Cassatt

Cassatt was enthusiastic about painting at an early age. Her family was against her becoming a painter. She studied aht the Pennsylvania Academy of Fin Arts and then went to Paris for further training. Her early work was influenced by Manet but then Degas invited her to join the Impressionists. She influenced many of her wealthy friends to buy Impressionist paintings which later helped form major collections at museums. Cassatt remained single, used many of her relatives and thieir children in her paintings. Later in life she had to give up painting in 1914 because of bad eyesight.

Critics on Cassatt

The Jeune fille a la fenetre [is] graceful and flourishing like a young plant in full bloom. [She] stands wearing a white straw hat enveloped in gauze; ... There is more than just painting here; there is a sort of emanation of life as well, compounded of summer warmth and the sensual perfume of the woman. Those who deny that Impressionism has delicacy and charm should see these pictures. What a time we live in, when such an exhibition, following the one in 1881, does not silence criticism, does not bring in the crowds, and does not definitively recognize Mary Cassatt as the distinguished and expert artist some already know her to be.
Gustave Geffroy, La justice, 26 May 1886

Mary Cassatt is showing a very pretty Femme au chien. This woman is at her window, lit by full sunlight. Indifferent to the people swarming below, she is lost in distant reverie. This painting shows carefully observed color.
George Auriol, Le Chat Noir, 22 May 1886

Cassatt has no rival in rendering the fluidity of air around her figures. The well-blended unity of her paintings arises from the softness of modeling caressed by an impalpably light touch and the smoothness of the tones linked by this invisible agent. Look at the young girl at the window: her lips breathe, her eyes have the moist and mobile flash of life, her hat adorned with white gauze and pink silk has the delicacy of a flower in bloom.
Maurice Hermel, La France Libre, 27 May 1886

Image List

1873- Toreador
         Spanish Dancer Wearing A Lace Mantilla

1878- Le Figaro
         Self Portrait

1879- At the Theatre

1880- Self Portrait

1884- Alexander Cassatt and Son

1886- Girl Arranging Her Hair
         Child In A Straw Hat

1887- Little Girl in a Blue Armchair

1889- At the Window
         The Artist's Mother
         The Artists Mother (SF)
         Helene De Septeuil

1890- Mother and Child
         In The Omnibus
         The Letter

1891- The Bath

1893- The Boating Party

1897- Breakfast in Bed

1902- The Caress

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Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
by Harriet Scott Chessman

Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman
by Judith A. Barter

Cassatt: A Retrospective
by Nancy Mowell Mathews

Mary Cassatt: Impressionist at Home
by Barbara Stern Shapiro


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