Biografie von Mary CASSATT (1844-1926)

Birth place: Allegheny City, PA

Death place: Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France.

Addresses: Grew up in Phila.; to Paris, 1866, and 1872-1926 (visited U.S. twice: 1898-99 and 1904)

Profession: Painter, pastelist, printmaker, muralist

Studied: PAFA, 1860-65; in Paris with Gérôme (privately), Charles Chaplin, and Th. Couture, 1866-68 (returned to U.S. because of Franco-Prussian War); in France with Edouard Frere, Paul Soyer and Chaplin; in Rome with Charles Bellay and in Parma, Italy, with Carlo Raimondi, 1872; visited Spain in 1872

Exhibited: Paris Salons, 1868, 1870, 1872, 1873 (exhibited as Mary Stevenson), 1874-76 (exhibited as Mary Cassatt); Cincinnati Indust. Exh., 1873; NAD, 1874-78, 1909; PAFA, 1876-1917 (1904 , prize; 1914, gold); SAA, 1879; Degas introduced her to the French Impressionists in 1877 and she exhibited with them, 1879-86; Woman Etchers of America," NYC, 1888; Wunderlich Gal., NYC, 1891 (solo, prints); World"s Columbian Expo, Chicago, 1893. She was represented by Durand-Ruel, Paris, who arranged a retrospective (all media) in Paris, 1893, and a large solo show in New York, 1895; SAA; Pan American Exh., Buffalo; Corcoran Gal, 1907-26, 1957; PAFA, 1915-17; AIC, 1998 (retrospective; 100 works, traveled to BMFA and NGA in 1999) "

Member: Chevalier of Legion of Honor of France, 1904; ANA, 1909

Work: MMA; CGA; Wilstach Gal., Phila.; RISD; BMFA; Worcester Mus.; NGA; Detroit Mus.; AIC; Luxembourg, Paris; Shelburne (VT) Mus.; major museums worldwide.

Comments: The only American (and one of three women) to exhibit with the original Impressionists in Paris, she is internationally known for her figurative paintings of women and children. For the Woman's Building of the 1893 World"s Columbian Expo, she produced a major mural (Modern Woman," later destroyed). In 1890-91, she produced an important series of color aquatint etchings that show the cycle of women"s lives. This series, which reflects the influence of Japonisme (she herself owned a collection of Japanese prints), established her reputation as a major printmaker. She stopped making color aquatints in 1896-97; however, she continued to produce drypoint etchings until 1911. Like her close friend Degas, Cassatt also excelled at pastels. By 1915, her deteriorating vision caused her to stop painting. Cassatt is also important for her influence on American collectors, especially the Havemeyers whom she first advised to buy a Degas in 1874 (their large collection of Impressionist works, including a number by Degas, was bequeathed to the MMA).

Sources: WW25; Gerdts, American Impressionism, 32-44; Baigell, Dictionary; P. Peet, Am. Women of the Etching Revival, 52; Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons, 83-84, 327-328, 392; Falk, Exhibition Record Series.

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