03 Impressionist painters
Mary Cassatt 1844-1926

Cassatt:autoportrait detail-1878,Metropolitan Museum of Art   cassatsigntr.jpg (3267 bytes)

titre.jpg (4286 bytes)

Cassatt:Spanish Woman Wearing a Mantilla,1873,oil,National Museum of American Art-Washington
Cassatt:On the Balcony, During Carnaval, 1873,oil, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Cassatt:The Banjo Lesson,1893,oil,National Gallery of Art, Washington
"banjo lesson"
Cassatt:Girl arranging her hair, 1886,oil, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Cassatt:The bath, 1891/2, oil,The Art Institute of Chicago
Cassatt: Woman Reading in a garden, 1880,oil,The Art Institute of Chicago
Cassatt:Mother and child, 1889, Wichita Art Museum,Kansas
Cassatt: The Letter, 1891, Color Print,National Gallery of Art, Washington
Cassatt: Woman Bathing,1891,National Gallery of Art,Washington
Cassatt:In the Omnibus,1891,color print,National Gallery of Art,Washington
Cassatt:Mother's Kiss,1891,color print,National Gallery of Art, Washington
"mother's kiss
Cassatt:Young Mother Sewing,1902,oil,Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.
Cassatt:Children Playing on the Beach,1884,oil,National Gallery of Art, Washington
Cassatt:Lydia(Mary Cassatt's sister)oil,1880.Musée du Petit Palais,Paris
Cassatt:1879,oil,Museum of Fine Arts,Boston

1.  What nationality is  Mary Cassat? 

a French
b English
c American     
d Australian

During a four year trip to France and Germany, Mary Cassatt saw the works of  Courbet, Delacroix et Ingres in the  Pavillion of Realism at the Paris World's Fair of 1855.  This maybe influenced her when she started to paint.

During the American Civil War, Mary Cassatt studied at the Philadelphia School of Fine Arts.  In 1865, she decided to finish her studies at the   Beaux Arts in Paris and goes there with her friends  Eliza Haldeman et Thomas Eakins.


2. Mary  studied with  Jean-Léon Gérôme because :

a She was not good enough for the Paris Beaux Arts          
b The Beaux Arts were closed
c The  Beaux Arts did not accept foreigners
d The Beaux Arts did not accept women

After seeing her paintings refused at the Paris Salons, like most of the Impressionists, and with the beginning of the Franco-Prussion War, Mary returned to the United States.  But once back, she nearly gave up painting.


3.  Why did Mary Cassatt nearly abandon painting in 1870?

a She could not find the painting materials she needed and there were few art galleries to visit
b Her family forbids her to continue her artistic "bohemian" life
c Aspects of the war had depressed her
d Her vision was failing her


Mary  Cassatt returned to Europe and studied the works of  Correggio in Parma, she also studied  engraving techniques with  Carlo Raimondi, and then in Spain.   Meanwhile, in 1874, one of her paintings was accepted at the Paris Salon.  

Mary returns to Paris where she makes a home with her sister Lydia.  But the Salon continues to reject her painting, and she is invited by Degas to join the "Anonymous Company of Artists, Sculptors, Engravers, etc."-- the "Independents".


4. To be able to join the "independents", the painters had to:

a paint in an "impressionistic" manner
b have sold some of their works
c promise not to present their works to the Salons
d have been accepted by the Salons


5. A very small percentage of works by  Mary Cassat are: 

a oils
b pastels
c engravings
d watercolors


After a Salon (exposition) on Japanese engravings in 1890, Mary Cassatt started painting in this style with great success.  She had so much success with the "The Banjo Lesson" monotype, that she produced about forty of them.  With this technique, each one is a little different.


6. Who painted this portrait of  Mary Cassat?

portrait de Mary Cassat,1880-84,oil,The Smithsonian Institution,Washington,D.C.

a autoportrait
b Manet
c Courbet
d Degas


Now recognized for her art,  Mary Cassatt lives in her   Château de Beaufrêne, where she spends the rest of her life.  She received the medal of  Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (France's highest non-military honor) for her contribution to art and help to young artists.  She had to stop painting at the start of World War I in 1914 because of her failing sight. 


7. The works of  Mary Cassatt show us maternal love in its most tender moments.  The children painted by her were mostly:

a her own children
b her grand-children
c her nieces and nephews
d models

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Other works of Mary Cassatt

Click here to see list of painters of the times

Classical Music:
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)Prélude à l'aprèsmidi d'un faune
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

JCLS 4/2001