Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Great American Artists- Mary Cassatt

The Bath

Mary Cassatt, born in Pennsylvania in 1844, was an American painter and printmaker who often portrayed the bonds between child and mother in her paintings. She was born into a wealthy family and was able to travel to many different countries in Europe. In Europe, Cassatt first took drawing lessons. She was also exposed to French painting. At the age of fifteen, Mary began studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, despite her family's objections. She was not pleased with the teaching at the Academy, so she began to study the old masters on her own. In 1866, once she convinced her father, Cassatt moved to Paris. She was accepted to study with Jean-Leon Gerome, a well-known and revered teacher. She took lessons from Charles Chaplin, a noted genre artist, towards the end of 1866. Cassatt returned to the U.S. in the summer of 1870. Her father still did not support her decision to make a living as an artist, so, for some time, she gave up painting. She traveled to Chicago in search of employment, but lost most of her paintings in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Her work did catch the eye of the Archbishop of Pittsburgh and he requested that she paint two copies of paintings by Correggio in Parma, Italy. This work supplied her with enough money to travel back to Europe. She began to gain renown and to sell her work. In 1874, she decided to live in France. In 1877, Cassatt hit a low point; she was not selling any of her paintings and her works were rejected. At this time, Edgar Degas, who Cassatt highly regarded, invited her to show her works with the Impressionists. Cassatt eagerly accepted Degas' invitation and began preparing paintings for the next Impressionist show in 1878. Degas had a great impact on Cassatt's work. The two gained popularity and Cassatt was able to sell many of her paintings at the Impressionist shows. Eventually Cassatt's style changed and she moved away from impressionism. She entered many paintings in New York galleries. She also began to solely paint mother and child pictures, which she is now most famous for.

1 comment:

  1. This 10 weeks of Summer are worthy to keep for future reference and reminders.....thanks.....JoAnn