The daughter of a wealthy family from Pennsylvania, Mary Cassatt received her initial artistic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Against her family’s wishes, she moved to Paris where she remained as an expatriate artist for more than forty years. By the age of 28, Cassatt’s work had been accepted to the Paris Salon. Cassatt exhibited with the Impressionist group four times between the years of 1877 and 1886, the only American artist ever to be invited do so. Throughout her highly successful career, Cassatt transcended traditional expectations for women.
Domestic scenes of upper-class Parisian mothers and children comprise only one-third of Cassatt’s oeuvre, but form the basis for her continued popularity. This sentimental image of a young girl holding a dog is characteristic of Cassatt’s mature Impressionistic style. The composition is tightly cropped and the sitter is pushed to the front of the picture plane. Such simple, graceful compositions were greatly influenced by her fascination with Japanese woodblock prints. Cassatt was very adept at the medium of pastel and took advantage of its spontaneity and subtle variations in color and texture. Created by pressing a damp piece of paper against a pastel drawing, this counterproof exhibits the muted, highly atmospheric effects typical of Cassatt’s work.
“I like Simone and the dog. They are so cute!” – Eleanor, age 4
Keep an eye out every week for more visitor favorites. We will be highlighting each of the top fifty pieces during our 50th Anniversary year. If you want a more intimate encounter, stop by the museum and see these masterpieces for yourself!