Mary Cassatt

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portrait of Mary Cassatt, by Edgar Degas, c. 1880-84

Mary Cassatt (May 22, 1844 - June 14, 1926) was an American woman-painter and print-maker. She was born in Pennsylvania, but lived much of her artistic life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the Impressionists. Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.

Quotes of Mary Cassatt[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt, 1875: 'Picking flowers in a field', oil-painting on panel; current location: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Mary Cassatt, 1878: 'In the loge', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Mary Cassatt, 1880: 'Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, U.S.
  • O how wild I am to get to work, my fingers farely itch & my eyes water to see a fine picture again.
    • quoted by Nancy Mowll Mathews, in Mary Cassatt: A Life, Villard Books, New York, 1994, p. 76 - ISBN 978-0-394-58497-3
    • Quote, c. 1871 - shortly after the archbishop of Pittsburgh commissioned Mary Cassatt to paint two copies of paintings by Correggio in Parma, Italy
  • I have given up my studio & torn up my father's portrait, & have not touched a brush for six weeks nor ever will again until I see some prospect of getting back to Europe. I am very anxious to go out west next fall & get some employment, but I have not yet decided where.
    • Quote from her letter of July, 1871; as quoted in her biography online at [1]
  • I used to go and flatten my nose against that window and absorb all I could of his [Degas'] art. It changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it.
    • Quote, c. 1875; as cited by Nancy Mowll Mathews, in Mary Cassatt: A Life, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, p. 114 - ISBN 978-0-585-36794-1
    • Cassatt admired Edgar Degas, whose pastels had made a powerful impression on her when she encountered them in an art dealer's window in Paris, 1875
  • If you [Vollard] should ever happen to find that picture ['Milliners's workshop'] [2] by Edgar Degas ] I know an American who will pay any price for it.
    • Mary Cassatt, quoted by Paris' art-dealer [Vollard] , in Degas, an Intimate Portrait, Courier Corporation, 1927, p. 90
  • ..crushed by the strength of this Art [the old Egyptian art].. .I fought against it but it conquered, it is surely the greatest Art the past has left us.. ..how are my feeble hands to ever paint the effect on me.

Quotes about Mary Cassatt[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Mary Cassatt
  • ..Mary Cassatt, sister of Mr. Cassatt, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world.
    • Quote of Louise Bernikow, late Summer of 1870; in 'The American Woman's Almanac'
    • long after she had become famous in Europe, Mary Cassatt was reported in the Philadelphia newspaper at her arrival
  • It is absolutely necessary, while what I saw yesterday at Miss Cassatt's is still fresh in mind, to tell you [Lucien, his son] about the colored engravings she is to show at Durand-Ruel's at the same time as I. We open Saturday.. .You remember the effects you strove for at Eragny? Well, Miss Cassatt has realized just such effects, and admirably: the tone even, subtle, delicate, without stains on seams: adorable blues, fresh rose, etc.
    • Quote of Camille Pissarro, from Paris, 3 April, 1891, in a letter to his son; in Camille Pissarro - Letters to His Son Lucien ed. John Rewald, with assistance of Lucien Pissarro; from the unpublished French letters; transl. Lionel Abel; Pantheon Books Inc. New York, second edition, 1943, p. 158
  • M. Degas and Mlle. Cassatt are, nevertheless, the only artists who distinguish themselves.. ..and who offer some attraction and some excuse in the pretentious show of window dressing and infantile daubing.
    • Quote from an art-review in 'Revue des Deux Mondes', Paris, 1879; quoted by McKown, Robin (1972). The World of Mary Cassatt. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co. ISBN 978-0-690-90274-7, p. 73
  • She [Mary Cassatt] has infinite talent. I remember the time we started a little magazine called 'Le Jour et La Nuit' together. I was very much interested in processes then, and had made countless experiments [in printing; Degas mainly mono-type - Mary Cassatt mainly etchings].. .You can get extraordinary results with copper; but the trouble is that there are never enough buyers to encourage you to go on with it.
    • Quote of Edgar Degas, as cited in Degas, an Intimate Portrait, by Ambroise Vollard; Courier Corporation, 1927, p. 48
    • Degas's remark, when he visited one day the art-shop of Vollard and looked at a print of Mary Cassatt.

External links[edit]

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