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Artists Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt Photo

Mary Cassatt

American Draftsman, Painter, and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Impressionism, Proto-Feminist Artists

Born: May 22, 1844 - Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: June 14, 1926 - Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France

Mary Cassatt Timeline

Quotes

"I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work."
Mary Cassatt
"It is as well not to have too great an admiration for your master's work. You will be in less danger of imitating him. "
Mary Cassatt
"A woman artist must be .. capable of making the primary sacrifices."
Mary Cassatt
"I have touched with a sense of art some people - they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare that to the joy for an artist?"
Mary Cassatt
"There are two ways for a painter: the broad and easy one or the narrow and hard one."
Mary Cassatt
"Most women paint as though they are trimming hats. Not you."
Degas said to Cassatt

"I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet and Degas. I hated conventional art - I began to live."

Mary Cassatt Signature

Synopsis

American-born Mary Cassatt traveled to France for her artistic training and remained there for most of her life and career. There she was recognized by contemporaries like Edgar Degas for her talent, and she became the only American artist to exhibit with the Impressionists in Paris. Her signature subjects were portraits of women and portrayals of mothers and children caught in everyday moments. In both her style and her insightful evocations of women's inner lives, she was a distinctly modern artist of the late-19th century.

Key Ideas

Cassatt's work combined the light color palette and loose brushwork of Impressionism with compositions influenced by Japanese art as well as by European Old Masters, and she worked in a variety of media throughout her career. This versatility helped to establish her professional success at a time when very few women were regarded as serious artists.
Cassatt's art typically depicted domestic settings, the world to which she herself (as a respectable woman) was restricted, rather than the more public spaces that her male contemporaries were free to inhabit. Her material was occasionally dismissed as quintessentially "feminine," yet most critics realized that she brought considerable technical skill and psychological insight to her subject matter.
Through her business acumen and her friendships and professional relationships with artists, dealers, and collectors on both sides of the Atlantic, Cassatt became a key figure in the turn-of-the-century art world and helped to establish the taste for Impressionist art in her native United States.

Biography

Mary Cassatt Photo

Early Life and Training

Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born to a comfortably upper-middle-class family: her father was a successful stockbroker, and her mother belonged to a prosperous banking family. The Cassatts lived in France and Germany from 1851 to 1855, giving the young Mary an early exposure to European arts and culture. She also learned French and German as a child; these language skills would serve her well in her later career abroad. Little else is known about her childhood, but she may have visited the 1855 Paris World's Fair, at which she would have viewed the art of Gustave Courbet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, among other French masters.

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Mary Cassatt Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Mary Cassatt
Interactive chart with Mary Cassatt's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Édouard ManetÉdouard Manet
Thomas CoutureThomas Couture
Gustave CourbetGustave Courbet
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir

Personal Contacts

Edgar DegasEdgar Degas
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro
Berthe MorisotBerthe Morisot

Movements

ImpressionismImpressionism
JaponismJaponism
RealismRealism

Influences on Artist
Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt
Years Worked: 1875 - 1926
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Lucy BaconLucy Bacon

Personal Contacts

Edgar DegasEdgar Degas
Berthe MorisotBerthe Morisot

Movements

Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
Feminist ArtFeminist Art

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Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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