Selection of art prints by Mary Cassatt, American impressionist painter and printmaker.
Mary Cassatt is regarded as one of les trois grandes dames of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Berthe Morisot. Though the only American in this threesome, Mary has been well acquainted with French culture. She spent much of her adult life among Parisian avant-garde artists. She knew Monet, Renoir or Degas personally. But – as a woman – she could not experience the bohemian life in its entirety.
Mary was born in a wealthy, Pennsylvanian upper-middle-class family. Her father has never fully accepted daughter’s choice of career as a professional artist. He even refused to sponsor her art supplies, though he paid for her basic needs. In the first years in Europe, Mary struggled with conservative views of her teachers, academics and critics. Her works were not selling well.
She even couldn’t attend cafes – where the avant-garde socialised. Simply put, female students were not allowed in there. Once even her close friend Edgar Degas, while viewing her Two Women Picking Fruit for the first time, allowed himself to comment: ‘No woman has the right to draw like that’.
In such an atmosphere Cassatt had strengthened her feminist views. Never married, childless, objecting to being stereotyped as a woman artist, she supported the suffrage movement from an early age, albeit it brought her into conflict with family. It’s pure irony that her most famous masterpieces depict intimate scenes of mothers and children bonding with each other.
Like other artists of that time, she fell in love with Japanese culture. Cassatt prints, done in difficult woodblock technique, are the best example of that influence.
Source: Cassatt | Feminist with a twist
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