Kindly Wait for the Paper to Load …
This is the story of a great woman and artist who was able with all the difficulties and obstacles she faced to create her own style and was able to leave a print in the art field. Mary Cassatt was born on May 22, 1844 in Allegheny city, Pennsylvania. She was born in favorable circumstances; her father, Robert Cassatt, was a successful banker and financier. Her mother, Katharine Kelso Cassatt, came from a banking family. In her childhood, her family traveled to Europe, but eventually they went to Pennsylvania and settled in Philadelphia. At the age of 15, she decided to become an artist, although women of her day were discouraged from pursuing a career. Marry enrolled in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Of course, not surprisingly, she found the male faculty and her fellow students to be resentful of her attendance.
Therefore, she decided to leave the program and move to Europe where she could study the works of the Old Masters firsthand on her own. She left for Paris, chose it as her permanent residence, and established her studio there. In France, she met and painted with Impressionist artist’s, such as Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Manet. She became a friend with Edgar Degas; his style inspired her own style. He was known to admire her drawing and as he said “I do not admire that a woman draws that well!” so and at his request she exhibited with the Impressionists.
The impressionist art movement originated in France in the last quarter of the 19th century as a reaction against traditional art and its strict rules. A group of painters who became known as the Impressionists decided to gain independence from the standards and strove to break away from the traditional rules of subject matter, technique, and composition in painting, and created their own, unique style prescribed by the French Academy of Fine Arts and France’s annual official art exhibition called The Salon.
Mary was a great practical support to the Impressionist movements as a whole, providing direct financial help and by promoting the works of Impressionists in the USA, largely through her brother. By persuading him to buy works by Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Manet. She made him the first important collector of such works in America. She told him and her wealthy friends that these works would make their collections very valuable. Mary brought a lot of attention to the impressionist movement and introduced new ways of painting to society. She supports what she believes in and she did not only preach but practiced it.
At the beginning, Mary painted mostly figures of friends or relatives and their children in the Impressionist style. She brought out her series of 10 colored prints. After that, while many of her fellow Impressionists were focused on landscapes and street scenes, Mary became famous for her portraits. She was especially drawn to women in everyday domestic settings. Marry often-created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children. For example, The Bath or La Toilette (http://www.ibiblio.org/paint/auth/cassatt/toilette.jpg) and Mother and Child (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cassatt/mother-child.jpg).
Mary’s painting style continued to evolve away from Impressionism in a simpler and more straightforward approach. Nevertheless, that did not make her forget her indebtedness to the salon for building her career. Especially when she went back home after the war that happened in France. The artist freedom that she enjoyed while living abroad was immediately over. Not only did she have trouble finding proper supplies, but also her father refused to pay for anything connected with her art.
Her final exhibition with the Impressionists was in 1886, and she stopped identifying herself with a particular movement or school. Her experimentation with a variety of techniques often led her to unexpected places. For example, drawing inspiration from Japanese master printmakers, she exhibited a new series of colored prints.
A turning a point in Mary’s life was the trip to Egypt with her brother. The magnificent ancient art made her question her own talent as an artist. Soon after their return home, her brother died unexpectedly from an illness he contracted during the journey. These two events deeply affected Cassatt’s physical and emotional health, and she was unable to paint again for three years. Later, she was forced to give up painting altogether as diabetes slowly stole her vision. For the next 11 years, until her death on June 14, 1926, Mary Cassatt lived in almost total blindness, bitterly unhappy to be robbed of her greatest source of pleasure.
In my opinion, I think a woman like that deserves a celebration day. Especially after all what she been through she was able to stand up in every time and continue her life and becomes stronger than before. Maybe she did not do what she wanted ,but she tried to make a good fight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Aa5tMoGnM&feature=grec_index
By Dana Mashal