“I used to go and flatten my nose against that window and absorb all I could of his art,” Mary said to a friend in a letter. “It changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it.” She was speaking of her great friend and mentor, Edgar Degas.
Mary Cassatt, an American, studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts but spent much of her life in France, where she became friends with the great artist Degas. It was him who persuaded her to exhibit her paintings with the Impressionists. On joining the movement: “At last, I could work with absolute independence without considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet and Degas. I hated conventional art—I began to live.”
Many consider Cassatt to be the greatest woman painter. She is regarded for her dramatic use of color and intimate portrayal of strong bonds, particularly of mother and child. She had no children of her own. After reaching reasonable success, she began to care little about what was popular with the masses or what would sell and began to focus on flexing artistic liberties to present more expression in her work. She was always somewhat of a ground breaker, challenging the norms of women in art and in work. And she did reach success in her lifetime, however in 1910, her eyesight became poor and it put an end to serious painting. She died in 1926.
Click here to see American artist Mary Cassatt on a 23¢ stamp honoring her. The stamp was issued on November 4, 1988, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as part of the Great American Series of definitive stamps.
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.
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