Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter

Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter

by Lois Harris, Mary Cassatt
     
 

Mary Cassatt knew from a young age that she wanted to make her living as an artist. She persuaded her parents to send her to the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at age fifteen, and by age twenty, she had moved abroad to begin her painting career. After several years of study and success, she found her rightful place among the Impressionists, becoming… See more details below

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Overview

Mary Cassatt knew from a young age that she wanted to make her living as an artist. She persuaded her parents to send her to the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at age fifteen, and by age twenty, she had moved abroad to begin her painting career. After several years of study and success, she found her rightful place among the Impressionists, becoming their first and only female American member.

Illustrated with Cassatt's own work and that of other influential Impressionists, as well as photographs of the artist, this book offers children a glimpse at life during the late 1800s and showcases the colorful vivaciousness of Cassatt's work. Her beloved portraits of mothers and children are highlighted here, but the book also includes lesser-known work that shows Cassatt's range of talent. Children will enjoy seeing the warm and loving images of others their age relaxing with pets, enjoying the outdoors, and being held by caring adults.

Inspiring for all children, but especially appropriate for those with artistic interests, this book shows how one girl's lifelong dream to become an artist came true due to an independent spirit, determination, and commitment to her craft. Just as Mary Cassatt was an inspiration to many young artists who moved to Paris to fulfill their dreams, so may this book be a catalyst for young readers to follow their heart and mind towards their creative goals.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Bowman-Kruhm
Words, effectively sparse in this biography of Mary Cassatt, match photographs and reproductions of paintings by her and her contemporaries to carry the reader through major events in her life. For example, her early years are illustrated by her painting of Young Girl Reading. After a childhood in the United States and Europe, she traveled to France at age twenty-one to copy paintings by the old masters; this phase of her life is illustrated by Edgar Degas's painting of her at the Louvre. Seeing a painting by Degas in an art dealer's window inspired Cassatt to develop her unique style of Impressionism, for which she gained recognition first in her adopted country of France and ultimately in the United States. Generous with help to young artists, she was awarded France's Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1904 and upon her death was given a funeral with military honors. Without preaching, Harris notes the impossibility of women in that era combining family and career and, although Cassatt often painted children, she was childless. Through both words and art, this biography beautifully pictures the life of a talented and courageous woman who achieved what few women in the early years of the twentieth century dared even to dream. Highly recommended. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4
Cassatt, "one of the world's greatest Impressionist painters," was born in Pennsylvania in 1844, began drawing as a child, and, by the time she was 21, was studying and copying the works of the great masters in the museums of western Europe. An admirer and friend of Edgar Degas, she became the only American Impressionist, but her visionary style wasn't appreciated until after her death. Cassatt's story is told primarily through reproductions of artworks, both her own paintings and those of her contemporaries. The illustrations provide an overview of her work from 1873 to 1901 and make it easy to trace her evolving style. The pieces are well chosen to coordinate with the text, and, while the intensity of the colors is somewhat muted, the overall quality is quite good. Occasional black-and-white photos of pertinent people and places round out this chronological biography. A credits page lists titles, dates, and locations of the reproductions. Unfortunately, the narrative is rather dry, using matter-of-fact short, declarative sentences that explain the important information but give little life to the subject. Although this title would be a serviceable introduction for elementary readers, libraries with Jane O'Connor's more exuberant Mary Cassatt (Grosset & Dunlap, 2003) can easily pass it by.
—Nancy Menaldi-ScanlanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Mary Cassatt was a trailblazer both as a woman and as a painter. As the author of this biography declares, by "following her own plan, she became one of the world's greatest Impressionist painters." Unfortunately, a recitation of the facts of Cassatt's life-born in 1844, moved to Europe with her family for a spell, moved back, attended art school, tired of painting to please the judges, etc.-fails to convey the passion and intense creativity she must have possessed. Even the lovely paintings reproduced here fail to enliven what by definition is a hugely difficult project: using the vehicle of biography to teach art history to those without the context or vocabulary necessary to give it meaning. While doing a serviceable job of explaining the difference between the painters favored by the Salon and the Impressionists, the attempts to add kid-friendly interest to the story fall flat. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589804524
Publisher:
Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/15/2007
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,377,769
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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