Mary Cassatt

An Impressionist who made quite an impression

Mary Cassatt A Life

Background information

  • Born to an affluent family in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on May 22, 1844
  • Her parents were Robert and Katherine Cassatt
  • Katherine and Robert both stood apart from the social society of affluent americans at the time because Katherine had a french upbringing and Robert deeply enjoyed working as a private investor
  • Both of her parents came from privileged up bringing
  • They had seven children total
  • Lydia, Alexander, Robert, Mary, and Joseph (the other children one girl and one boy both died in infancy)
  • All of which were named family names
  • They moved frequently in pursuit of sophistication, adventure, and medical care for Robert who had an undiagnosed bone disease
  • She was educated in many different cultures
  • She began her education at age six in Philadelphia then spent two years in Paris and two in Germany and the rest of her foreign education was in Heindelburg for a year and then Darmstadt
  • Mary became fluent in both German and French and had received a fundamental education by age 11
  • The family left a year before they had plane when Robbie at a tender thirteen died two days after Mary's 11th birthday.
  • The passing of her brother forced Mary to be more self reliant and deprived her of her closest friend
  • After the passing of Robbie the family moved to West Chester to be closer to family but left three years later in pursuit of city life and spent the nest four years back in Philidelphia where Mary flourished in society
  • Her Parents always treated their children as equals and encouraged them to pursue what they felt passionately about
  • Mary knew at age fifteen that she wanted to be an artist because she had "a passion for line and color," so she applied for and was accepted to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • She studied there where she became a confident feminist and lived a very modern life

Important artistic influences

"I think if you shake the tree, you ought to around when the fruit falls to pick it up."

Mary Cassatt

Cassatt today

If Mary Cassatt was around today I think she would fade away, Because she wouldn't be shocking. What made Mary Cassatt's art fascinating (other then its avant-garde style and beautiful composition) was that it depicted the female perspective to the fine art world in a time when that was totally unseen. When she got a piece of art into the Paris Saloon for the first time it was an incredible moment for women. To see a females art taken seriously was a new and exciting idea and today her art would not create that kind of stir. what was new and exciting as subject matter then will simply seem mundane in todays world.

Meredith Cassatt

If I had the artistic abilities that Mary had and I would pursue it for a career as she did. I might choose to work with a different subject matter like nature instead of nurture. I would study birds and gardens and seek the art to make a living during college and then use it as a past time while I perdure my career in another field. Not that making art isn't wonderful but I wouldn't want one particular skill to determine what I do with my entire life or stop me from pursuing other avenues.
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Political Cartoon

In this cartoon Mary Cassatt is Dorothy because she finds great success and makes great friends in a far away land. She is accompanied by Claude Monet ( the Cowardly Lion) and Edgar Degas ( the Scarecrow). Each member of their party sports a bit of the yellow brick road because they are all on the path to success. Their arms are all linked to show how closely that all worked with one another forging their way down this new path of impressionism as mentors to one another and as friends.

Historical Summation

The author has a very knowledgeable air about the piece and maintains a tone of witty fire through out the piece. this kind of spunk helps catch the readers eye and keeps their attention through vivid imagery and colorful portrayals of, not only art, but also relationships. The Author speaks highly of both the contrast and harmony between the two great artists through use of expert diction and syntax. The word choice really makes this piece spectacular and powerful descriptions paired with impactful personification like "only their eyes may wander" really help make a strong case for the dynamic case the author is trying to make. The piece is a love letter to an exhibition the exemplifies the relationship between Degas and Cassatt and portrays the whole collection in a lovely light.

American Experience

Mary Cassatt did not live an American life or have a quintessentially american upbringing but she was an American all the same. She was a Pennsylvanian, and a person drawn to change who wanted very deeply to find her own happiness and lead her own life. And in this she was a true american. She followed her passions and carried herself with grace and found great success as she incorporated all aspects of different cultures into her art and life. She was her own America, a revolutionary part of the world who pushed herself into the spotlight and demanded respect and in doing so she was a powerful force for change in art.
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The Boating Party

  • Produced 1893-1894 and influenced heavily by european style
  • Mirrored the work of her close friends Claude Monet and Edgar Degas
  • Oil on canvas
  • Produced off the meditteraninan coast of Fracnce
  • followed the most reoccurring theme in her art work, children and motherhood
  • reflects the greenery of France beautifully
  • Demonstrates a female perspective so often missed in the art world at the time
  • Boarders on post impressionalism
  • Heavy colors and strong contrast characterize much of her work
  • Influenced by Japanese prints
  • Well defined depth
  • Was a later work and as such is rich with differences between her mellow impressionist and her own style but is based in the technique and brush style of Impressionism

comparison to other artist