Mary Cassatt Biography | Oil Paintings
5-22-1844 Pittsburgh, USA - 6-14-1926 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Mary Stevenson Cassatt studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art in Philadelphia from 1861 to 1865, but after the American Civil War, she traveled to Europe, continuing her studies in Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands before settling in Paris. The daughter of a Pittsburgh banker, she went to Paris during the 1870's to complete her academic training.
Singled out by Edgar Degas, she became a pupil of his and joined the Impressionist group and spent the remainder of her long life in France. Degas had a long period of collaboration. The two had studios close together, less than a five-minute stroll apart, and Degas got into the habit of looking in at Cassatt's studio and offering her advice and helping her get models.
Despite having spent most of her life in Paris, Mary Stevenson Cassatt was highly renowned in her native country as well. With the help of her banker father's well-placed friends, she played a crucial role in bringing the works of French painters to the United States, for her part, Cassatt was helpful in promoting Degas sell his paintings and developing his reputation in America.
Mary Cassatt Impressionism's Female Half.
Her main work consisted of studies of genre and domestic subjects which often reflect her interest in Japanese prints. Her reputation now rests on her larger works, executed in pastels or oils, which often explore the tender relationship between mother and child, although her mastery of technique which owed much to her original teacher, Thomas Eakins prevented her from descending into the banal or mawkish. Her paintings always draw attention to the emotions and a subtle, typical feminine psychology. In portraying, for example, Children Playing on the Beach, shown below, the two young girls quietly playing in the sand, the painter has carefully set herself to one side, so as to be able to observe the children without disturbing them.
After her death in Paris in 1936 her work was neglected for some time, but in more recent years it has been the subject of re-appraisal and her realistic but sensitive portraiture of women, girls and young children is now more fully appreciated. Cassatt's paintings In the Box sold for $4,100,000 in 1996 at Christie's, New York.
At the height of Impressionism, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot achieved the highest degree of artistic excellence, a phenomenon that had no equivalent in the literature or music of France at the time.
Art Movement History: Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Mary Cassatt: Thomas Couture, Charles Joshua Chaplin, Jean Leon Gérôme, Thomas Eakins, Edgar Degas.
She Traveled To France, Egypt, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.