Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Mary Cassatt

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Unknown artist. Mary Cassatt (in Reboux hat) at Grasse, 1914. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.

Mary Cassatt
b. 1844, Pittsburgh; d. 1926, Château de Beaufresne, near Paris

Mary Cassatt was a famous American expatriate artist who was an active member of the French Impressionist circle. The daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman, she studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1860 to 1862, and then traveled extensively in Europe, finally settling in Paris in 1874. Three years later, Edgar Degas suggested she join the Impressionists. Like Berthe Morisot, the other active female member of the Impressionists, Cassatt was drawn to domestic and intimate subjects associated with feminine spaces, rather than the social and urban spaces that attracted their male counterparts. In the late 1870s, Cassatt began making works that focused on her family; she is perhaps most well known for her later studies of the relationship between mother and child.

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