Five Facts about Mary Cassatt You May Like to Know

Facts about Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt was a proficient painter who mostly painted women and children. She was an American painter born on May 22, 1884, in the Allegheny city of Pennsylvania. She was a master at Impressionist painting but was always open to learning other artistic styles. 

She spent most of her adulthood with her special friend, Edgas Dagar. Many rumors were spread about the two being in a romantic relationship. However, she never married him or anyone else. 

Tap into this lucrative segment to know more about the unknown facts about Mary Cassatt. From her artistic maneuvers to relationship rumors, we have listed the five unknown facts we bet you didn’t know. 

Five Facts about Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt Copied From Masterpieces at Louvre

The top art school in Paris, École des Beaux-Arts, was not open to women during her time. It was this reason why Cassatt studied privately. Several prominent instructors guided her. 

With time, American painter Mary Cassatt managed to get a permit to copy paintings at the Louvre. It was a critical educational and social practice for aspiring female artists, who were not permitted to assemble at cafés with their male counterparts. 

In 1868, Cassatt’s hard work paid off; her painting A Mandolin Player was accepted at the Paris Salon. The city’s preeminent, state-sponsored location was where world-class art exhibitions were held. Mary Cassatt’s artworks were hung at eye level in the salon. Rather than the top or bottom of the wall, a symbol that her work was awe-inspiring to the art fanatics and jury.

She Was A Painter Of Modern Life 

The time when painter Mary Cassatt pursued painting was a period when women were not allowed to go out, visit cafes, or make any public appearances without chaperones. 

However, Cassatt had a different personality and was often accompanied to public places with her family. Although Cassatt adopted the Impressionist style, her subject matter differed. Her primary work is centralized on the themes of family, particularly between mother and child. 

The inspiration behind such a painting style came mainly from her desire to have children. However, there is nothing unique about the subject matter today; it was anything but during her time. The conditions at the time of her life did not give her much freedom. 

Sooner or later, she realized that there was going to be a need to choose between art and family. Mary Cassatt chose art above all. Although, her family was never far from her thoughts and ideas, as seen through her paintings. 

Some Paintings by Mary Cassatt Went Missing From Great Chicago Fire

In 1870, when the Franco-Prussian War hit severely, Cassatt moved back to Pennsylvania with her family. Unfortunately, she was in great trouble as her family took up a summer residence in the country. 

Here, she was frustrated with the lack of professional models of paint and study from great artworks. She earlier painted two classics and kept them in the New York Art Gallery. Unfortunately, these failed to generate an expected sale. 

So, she took them to Chicago, expecting some fortune there. However, things went even more bizarre because of the unexpected Chicago Fire of 1871. It burned thousands of cities, affected the living of so many people, and a handful of people died. Cassatt remained unharmed due to the consequences of the fire, but her artworks got destroyed in the process. 

Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt- An Undefined Relationship Status

Cassatt remained unmarried throughout her life and never had a family of her own. But, centuries-old rumors suggest that she had a serious affair with Edgar Degas, a fellow artist. 

In 1875, Cassatt discovered one of the most famous pastels by Degas while passing through a gallery window. She was stunned after having seen this enigmatic beauty. Similarly, Degas was enthralled by the paintings of Mary displayed at the Paris Salon of 1874. 

Edgar was ten years older than Cassatt. Both had a profound influence on each other’s work. However, it wasn’t merely one of a teacher and a student relationship. They collaborated on the professional forefront. 

They spent quality time together, from working side by side to visiting exhibitions and exchanging ideas. She inspired Degas to experiment with metallic paint. The consequence of this teaching can be seen in his depiction where Cassatt is walking through the Louvre in a series of artworks.

Japanese Woodcuts Intrigued Mary Cassatt

In 1890, Mary Cassatt visited Paris’s major exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints. The prints depicted sumptuous pleasure scenes such as that of Kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, and beautiful landscapes. 

Such prolific artistic ideas awe-inspired the American artist. So, seeking inspiration from these, she opted for metal printing plates instead of woodblocks. They consisted of Ukiyo-e bold lines, intricate patterns, and flat colors. 

The subjects she focused on were similar to her previous woman drawing. The Coiffure, for instance by Cassatt, echoes a print by Kitagawa Utamaro. For example, it depicts a woman examining her hair in the mirror. Apart from it, in 1891, ten Ukiyo-e-inspired prints were included in Cassatt’s first solo show. The highly successful series by her is so far hailed as one of her best works. 

The Bottom Line

Know more about Mary Cassatt’s famous paintings, and you can even order them online. Her paintings are the perfect gift to mothers as most of them depict an unspoken bond with their children.