23 March, 2007

Mary Cassatt

French Legion of Honor
Mary Cassatt
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Mother Feeding Child, 1898
Mary Cassatt

Allow me to present: Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926).

The account in Wikipedia of Cassatts' family resisting her choice of art as a profession, and her pressing her nose against the glass of the art dealer's window to see Degas' pastels and being transformed by seeing these watershed artworks, is enough to give you goosebumps. Then, to be invited by Degas to show with the Impressionists at the height of their powers in Paris - what a story! I don't know about today, but there certainly was a glass ceiling in the 19th century when our heroine came up. She was an American, living in Paris, who was invited to show in the Impressionist exhibitions.

She is another of the great lights whose eyesight failed in the latter years of their lives. Also in the significa department are her being honored with the French Legion d'honneur in 1904, and the naming of a Liberty Ship after the old girl during WW II. Wonderful recognitions of a worthy and great pastellist.

Cassatt Self Portrait, 1878

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Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism