MARY CASSATT

Allegheny City 1844 – Le Mesnil-Théribus 1926

Mary Cassatt was born in 1844 in Allegheny City, near Pittsburgh, into a wealthy family of bankers. During her childhood, she mostly lived in Europe, especially in Germany and France, before undertaking in the 1860's painting studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, against her family’s will.

In 1866, Mary Cassatt decided to go study painting in Paris. She briefly returned to the United States during the war of 1870, and then came back in Europe and visited Italy. From 1872, the young American began to send her works at the Salon and learned painting with Camille Pissarro. Quickly, Edgar Degas noticed her work and invited her to join the Impressionist group.
In 1886 the group disbanded and Mary Cassatt decided to follow her own way by experimenting different techniques, including her series of paintings based on mother and child subject, which made her famous.

In 1891, she had her first solo show at the Durand-Ruel gallery in Paris. In 1900, she came back to the United States with her collection of Impressionist paintings and dedicated herself to the recognition of this art movement, giving advice to art lovers, including the Havemeyer family. Thanks to her, many Impressionist works have joined the American museums.

Suffering from rheumatism and cataract, Mary Cassatt became almost blind and stopped painting in 1914. She died in 1926 at the château de Beaufresne, near Paris.


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