Collection: Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt was an outstanding, influential artist and women's activist of her time. Conceived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - at the time, known as Allegheny City which was later appended to Pittsburgh - in May 1844 to a family of the American upper white-collar class. Robert Simpson Cassat, her father (who added the extra "t" later on) was a stockbroker and would regularly put resources into acquiring promising lands. Although during her lifetime, her father would always supply her with financial help, he wasn't steady of her choice to turn into an artist. Her mom, Katherine Kelso Johnston, then again, would encourage Cassatt to travel and was passionate about literature and culture in general. Katherine had a tremendous effect on the artist's work throughout her whole career, as her central theme was the bond between mother and kid. She lived with her six kin, although two passed away when infants. Traveling as part of Cassatt's education, so as a youngster she spent many years in Europe learning how to speak German and French, as well as starting to contemplate art and music. While abroad she went to various locations like Berlin, London, and Paris, where she had access to European's most exceptional artworks. In 1855, at just eleven years old, Cassatt visited the Paris World's Fair and saw oil paintings by the Neo-Classical artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, the Romanticist, Delacroix, and the Realists, Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet. She also saw works by her future colleagues Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas.

Cassatt came back to the USA and began to learn at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at the youthful age of fifteen. Her family contradicted her choice to turn into a professional artist since this period it was not viewed as a suitable occupation for a woman. The painter was a women's activist; an advocate for equal rights, and simply turning into an artist was already an act of resistance. During the American Civil War, Cassatt considered in the Academy, from 1861 to 1865, yet eventually became burnt out on the chauvinistic education framework that didn't think that it's essential for ladies to learn about art. There weren't many ladies painters in the Academy, and when there were, they would just be allowed access to plaster casts for referênce, meaning the men were the main ones allowed to work with live models.

In the same way as other different artists of the time, Cassatt chose to think about the painting by replicating crafted by past masters. Not seeing any future for her art in America, in 1866 she moved to Paris officially finishing her formal investigations, since ladies were not allowed to attend the École des Beaux-Arts. Yet, she didn't surrender and kept considering with Jean-Léon Gérôme and later on with different artists as her teacher, as well as making daily visits to the Louver. In 1868, the Paris Salon accepted artworks done by ladies just because - Elizabeth Jane Gardener and Cassatt, who showed A Mandoline Player. Although many avant-guard painters began to conflict with the Academy and shield modern art, Cassatt kept presenting her art to the Paris Salon.

In 1877, Cassatt encountered a depressed spot in her career, where the Salon didn't accept her work. At this point, Degas made the energizing idea for her to join the Impressionists and she agreed. After Berthe Morisot, Cassatt became the subsequent woman to join the gathering. During this period, she expanded her artistic abilities by working with pastels and scratching with the assistance of Degas. The American artist became very debilitated by the turn of the century, and by 1911 she was all the while working after being diagnosed with cataracts, neuralgia, diabetes, and rheumatism - just halting totally three years later, when she became almost altogether visually impaired. Cassatt passed away on June 1926 near Paris, at Château de Beaufresne.