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Mary Cassatt Calendars
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Mary Cassatt Educational Posters, Books, Video, Links for Learning

history of art > Impressionists > MARY CASSATT < Notable Women Artists < famous women < social studies

Mary Cassatt, Self Portrait, about 1880
Mary Cassatt,
Self Portrait, about 1880,
Giclee Print

Mary Cassatt
b. 5-22-1844; Allegheny City, Pennsylvania
d. 6-14-1926; France

Painter and printmaker Mary Cassatt is best remembered as an Impressionist artist who best remembered for depicting the lives of women and children in domestic situations.

Mary Cassatt parents were well-to-do, her father a stockbroker and land speculator, so that by the the age of ten Mary had traveled with her family to London, Paris and Berlin. It is likely that Mary was first exposed to French artists Ingres, Delacroix, Corot, and Courbet at the Paris World’s Fair of 1855. Degas and Pissarro, both of whom would be her future colleagues and mentors, also exhibited the Fair.Manet

Though Mary's parents valued education they didn't encourage her when she decided to pursue a career in art - art for a woman was viewed as a social skill, and who knows what strange ideas a girl would acquire in such an environment?

In a daring move for the time (1866), she left the patronizing attitude toward females at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to study in Europe. With her father's “blessing” she travelled with her mother and family friends to Paris where she worked in private classes as women were not allowed in the French Académie des beaux-arts (Academy of Fine Arts), copied paintings at the Louvre, and was exposed to the changes breaking into the highly regulated academic art scene.

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) the Cassatts returned to Pennsylvania. Still intent on a career in art, Mary was despairing of her opportunities to continue learning (her father would pay her living expenses but not for art supplies). She even travelling to west to find work and the trip resulted in losing some early paintings in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Fortunately the Archbishop of Pittsburgh then commissioned Mary to copy two Correggio painting in Parma, Italy and advanced her travel expenses. Cassatt was also able to travel to Spain and finally decided to take up residence in France by 1874.

Notable Women Artists - Mary Cassatt - Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Notable Women Artists - Mary Cassatt -
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair,

After having the “success” of exhibiting at the Salon for seven years (following the rules of academic art and side-stepping the political environment) all of Cassatt's submissions were rejected in 1877. At this point Edgar Degas invited her to show with the Impressionists, the group of artists who had set up their own show in 1874. Cassatt would share later that when she first saw Degas' pastels that he “...changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it.”

Cassatt and the Impressionists were influenced by Japanese aesthetics: patterns and asymmetric designs, lack of perspective and shadow, flat areas of strong color can be seen in Little Girl in a Blue Armchair - Cassatt placed the girl off-center, the armchairs form a pattern encircling an oddly shaped patch of gray floor in the middle of the picture, the forms are tilted up, and the edge of the canvas crops the image.

Mary Cassatt is also noted for her support of the cause of women's suffrage. She was awarded the Legion d'honneur by France in 1904.

Mary Cassatt quotes ~

“I have had a joy from which no one can rob me — I have been able to touch some people with my art.”
“I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work.”
“Women should be someone and not something.”

History of Art

Masterworks of Art - Mary Cassatt, The Boating Party, Poster
Mary Cassatt -
The Boating Party

• more Masterworks of Art posters

The Bath - Mary Cassatt Fine Art Print
The Bath -
Mary Cassatt
Art Print

Mother and Child - Mary Cassatt, Giclee Print
Mother and Child -
Mary Cassatt,
Giclee Print

In the Box - Mary Cassatt Fine Art Print
In the Box -
Mary Cassatt
Art Print

food posters opera posters

Young Lady Reading, Giclee Print
Young Lady Reading, Giclee Print

Young Lady Reading,
Mary Cassatt

• more reading posters

La Toilette Art Print, Cassatt
La Toilette,
Art Print

Mary Cassatt in Teachable Moments art education curriculum resources.

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre, Edgar Degas, Giclee Print
Mary Cassatt
at the Louvre,
Pastel, Edgar Degas,
Giclee Print

Edgar Degas invited Cassatt to join the Impressionists, she was the only American to exhibit with the group.

Pastels are dried sticks of pigments that have been mixed with gum and water and used as crayons. Both Cassatt and Degas are noted for their work in pastels.

The Pastel Kit: Materials, Techniques, and Projects

Gathering Fruit, 1893, Giclee Print
Gathering Fruit,
Giclee Print

Mary Cassatt was commissioned to paint a mural depicting the modern woman for the Women's Exhibit Hall of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (White City). “Gathering Fruit”, based on the now lost mural is suggestive of Eve's picking the apple from the Tree of Knowledge; here the woman is passing the fruit to the young child.

fruit posters
theology posters

Children on the Beach

Mary Cassatt Children on the Beach Decorative Switchplate Cover
Decorative Switchplate Cover

Children on the Beach by Cassatt Decorative High Gloss Ceramic Drawer Knob
Decorative High Gloss
Ceramic Drawer Knob

The Bath - Mary Cassatt Fine Art Print
Portrait of Miss Cassatt
by Edgar Degas


Mary Cassatt: A Life by Nancy Mowll Mathews - One of the few women Impressionists, Mary Cassatt had a life of paradoxes: American born, she lived and worked in France; a classically trained artist, she preferred the company of radicals; never married, she painted exquisite and beloved portraits of mothers and children. This book provides new insight into the personal life and artistic endeavors of this extraordinary woman.

Mary Cassatt by Trewin Copplestone - Mary Stevenson Cassatt was a highly unlikely figure to have become the first American painter to achieve a notable place in the development of the first modern avant-garde international movement in art.
The privileged daughter of a well-to-do Philadelphian broker, Cassatt was encouraged to paint as part of the social attributes of many young girls of her class. This was not equal to her need to become a serious painter as she enrolled in the Philadelphia Academy, beginning a career which resulted in her eventual participation in the development of Impressionism and a close friendship with Degas.
Her first great interest was in the work of the great masters of Italian and Spanish art; but on her arrival in Paris, she came to admire new young painters such as Courbet and Manet. Her studies were successful and she exhibited in the Salon of 1872, meeting Degas in 1874 and exhibiting with the Impressionists in 1879.
The subject that most captured her interest was the relationship between mother and child and much of her oeuvre is devoted to exploring the many aspects of this theme.
Her haughty independence isolated her from most of the Impressionist group but she was an important conduit through which French art was introduced to the American public.

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman - Beginning in the autumn of 1878, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper dreams its way into the intimate world of Cassatt's older sibling. Told in the reflective, lyrical voice of Lydia, who is dying of Bright's disease, the novel opens a window onto the extraordinary age in which these sisters lived, painting its sweeping narrative canvas with fascinating real-life figures that include Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, Cassatt's brilliant, subversive mentor. (five full-color plates)

Mary Cassatt, Great Women Artists (2001) VHS - Children and naturalism are the hallmarks of Mary Cassatt’s work during the 1880s and 1890s. She absorbed from her Impressionist colleagues Caillebotte, Degas, and Renoir, as well as her study of Japanese prints, the modern idea that the background of a painting might be as significant as the foreground. Her paintings depict a world of her own creation, one that adults can fully understand only by recapturing their childhood persona. 45 Minutes.

Mary Cassatt - American Impressionist (1999) VHS

Color Your Own Mary Cassatt Masterpieces - Included are The Bath, Young Mother Sewing, Mother’s Kiss, Maternal Caress, The Letter, Baby Reaching for an Apple, Young Girl in Large Hat. Dover Publications.

Mary Cassatt Postcards

Artists in Residence: A Guide to the Homes and Studios of Eight 19th Century Painters In and Around Paris - Most visitors to the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay may not realize that often in less than an hour they can be standing in the very studios in which many of the masterpieces were created more than a century ago. With this guidebook, travelers can venture beyond museum walls and into more intimate settings – the homes and studios of eight celebrated artists, all open to the public and located either in or near Paris. Artists include van Gogh, Monet, Courbet, Delacroix, Moreau, Bonheur, Millet and Daubigny. Each chapter starts off with a one-page biographical sketch, followed by the story of the artist's years in the house and studio, including family life, relationships with other artists, and the masterpieces painted there, along with sumptuous color photos of the house and studios. The writer and a photographer, both of whose work appears frequently in Architectural Digest, vividly portray the powerful connections between the artists and places that inspired them.

Artist's Manual: A Complete Guide to Painting and Drawing Materials and Templates by Angela Gair - An easy to use guide with a clear, informative text explaining hundreds of painting and drawing techniques – and more. From color use and composition to subject choice and tips from professionals.


Mary Cassatt, In the Loge (1879) Video from KhanAcademy - a free world-class education for anyone anywhere ...

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