Mary Cassatt Paintings

Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker who was born on May 22, 1844, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, which is now part of Pittsburgh. She came from a wealthy family and enjoyed the benefits of a good education and travel at a young age. Cassatt decided early on that her passion was art, and she pursued her career despite the obstacles she faced as a woman in a male-dominated field.

Cassatt studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia but grew frustrated with the slow pace and the patronizing attitude of the male students and teachers. In 1866, she moved to Paris to continue her studies. Since women were not allowed to attend the École des Beaux-Arts, she took private lessons from masters of the time and honed her skills by copying old masters at the Louvre.

She eventually joined the Impressionists, a group of artists who were rejected by the traditional French Academy and exhibited their work independently. Edgar Degas, a fellow Impressionist, invited Cassatt to show her paintings with the Impressionists in 1877, and she became one of the only three women to join the Impressionist movement. Cassatt's work often focused on the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.

Cassatt's style evolved over time from a more traditional, academic approach to incorporating the lighter color palette and looser brushwork of the Impressionists. Her work was innovative in its composition and use of color, and she was particularly skilled in pastels and printmaking.

Throughout her career, Cassatt also advocated for the recognition and value of works by women artists. She was instrumental in advising American collectors, thus playing a significant role in shaping the tastes of American art collectors and promoting Impressionism in the United States.

Mary Cassatt's health began to decline in the early 20th century, and she became nearly blind by 1914, which forced her to stop painting. She died on June 14, 1926, at Château de Beaufresne, near Paris, France, and left behind a legacy as a pioneering figure in Impressionist art and a role model for female artists.