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Mary Cassatt: A Life
     

Mary Cassatt: A Life

5.0 2
by Nancy Mowell Mathews, Mary Cassatt (Artist), Nancy Mowell Mathews
 

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One of the few women Impressionists, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) 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

Overview

One of the few women Impressionists, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) 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.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
This well-designed biography of Mary Cassatt, American-born Impressionist painter, traces the development of the artist from her beginnings as a member of a wealthy and cultured Pennsylvania family to her inclusion in the Paris Salon and beyond. A new look at an extraordinary life.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the age of 21, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) disregarded the opposition of her wealthy Pennsylvania family and went to France to study painting, remaining there for most of her life. In this admirable biography, art historian Mathews ( Mary Cassatt: The Color Prints ) presents a compelling portrait of this contradictory woman. Cassatt joined the Impressionists but always lived as a well-bred lady, never as a bohemian; gained fame with sensitive portraits of mothers and children yet never married or had children; and was frequently visited by family and friends from the U.S. who became caught up in her brilliant career in spite of her difficult and outspoken personality. Concentrating on Cassatt's devotion to her work and her often stormy personal relationships, including her friendships with the irascible painter Edgar Degas as well as with numerous wealthy Americans, some of whom she helped to acquire collections of impressionist art, Mathews treats Cassatt as a thoroughly professional painter, and shows how this single-minded and independent woman set her sights on high artistic goals and spent her life attaining them.
Library Journal
"As one of the country's greatest artists Mary Cassatt has entered the ranks of American heroes,'' Mathews concludes after 15 years' research. The shortness of the volume (and the plentitude of excellent black-and-white illustrations and color plates) tends to restrict this monograph to survey length. Yet the book includes a clear definition of the artist's personality, a revised chronology, and a balanced analysis of Cassatt's development, showing for example that she was a true Impressionist for only nine years. -- Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Art Dept., Goucher College, Maryland
Donna Seaman
Cassatt is known as the painter of mothers and children and as one of the few women Impressionists. Mathews, a renowned Cassatt expert, illuminates facets of the painter's life that have never before been articulated. An American who lived and worked in France for 60 years, Cassatt was a member of a wealthy Pennsylvania clan with a taste for European life and culture. By the time she was 15, Cassatt was fluent in several languages and possessed a keen and critical eye. Competitive, independent, and blessed with the sort of personal power that makes a person a "somebody," Cassatt chose to remain single and devote herself to her art. The key question, then, is why a single, childless woman would choose to make "maternity her signature theme." The answer becomes clear as Mathews traces the straight arrow of Cassatt's life, from her early struggles for recognition to her great joy at being welcomed into the breakaway Impressionist group by Edgar Degas, who became a close and encouraging friend. While Cassatt embraced a new, more natural, and spontaneous style of painting, her ethics never changed, especially her belief in the value of respectability. To remain respectable, a single woman living in Paris must have chaperones. Cassatt, therefore, surrounded herself with her parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, and all became her favorite models. It is within this family context that Cassatt was inspired to express the tenderness and beauty of mothers and children, a radiant subject that she approached without a shred of sentimentality or regret. Indeed, her artistic objectivity and vision are exactly what make these velvety and luminous paintings such masterpieces.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810907935
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/1987
Series:
Library of American Art
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 12.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Mowll Mathews is the Eugénie Prendergast Curator at Williams College Museum of Art.

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Mary Cassatt 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary Cassatt is a great artist.I love her work it is so beautiful.I love how she uses children so much in her art paintings because it brightins the picture up it is also so lively.I love what she does.She is great.I am inspired by her to do whatever i want to.