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November 25 , 2009

Mary Cassatt: 109 Paintings


Mary Cassatt was an American impressionist painter who depicted the lives of women, chiefly the intimate bond between mother and child. Degas and Pissarro would later become her mentors and fellow painters. She began studying art seriously at the age of 15, at a time when only around twenty percent of all arts students were female. Unlike many of the other female students, she was determined to make art her career, rather than just a social skill. She was disappointed at her art education in the United States, and moved to Paris to study art under private tutors in Paris. Her mother and family friends traveled with her to France, acting as chaperones. In Europe, Cassatt’s paintings were better received, increasing her prospects, and exhibited in the Salon of 1872, selling a painting. She exhibited every year at the Paris Salon until 1877, when all her works were rejected. Distraught at her rejection, she turned to the Impressionists, who welcomed her with welcome arms. Deciding early in her career that marriage was not an option, Cassatt never married, and spent much of her time with her sister Lydia, until her death in 1882, which left Mary unable to work for a short time. As her career progressed, her critical reputation grew, and she was often touted, along with Degas, as the one of the best exhibitors at the Impressionist Salon. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1906.

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