Cassatt, Mary (1844–1926)
American artist. Born Mary Stevenson Cassatt in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, May 22, 1844; died at Chàteau de Beaufresne (Oise), France, June 14, 1926; dau. of Robert Simpson Cassatt (stockbroker and mayor of Allegheny City, PA, died Page 344 | Top of Article1891) and Katherine Kelso Johnston Cassatt (died 1895); graduate of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1865; never married; no children.
Grande dame of the Impressionists, moved to Paris (1866); as Mary Stevenson, had 1st painting exhibited in the Salon (1868); spent 2 years in Italy and Spain (1872–74); as Mary Cassatt, exhibited in Salon (1872–76); met Edgar Degas, who asked her to join the Impressionist group (1877); rebelled against the officially sanctioned "true" art accorded the blessing of the French Academy of Fine Arts and exhibited with Impressionists (1879–86); used family members as models for some of her best pictures: women and children were her forte; produced 12 pictures in 1889 alone, placing great emphasis on design and on delicate texture, with landscapes and still life simply serving as background to her individualized figures; painted a series of murals depicting The Modern Woman for the Women's Building at Chicago World's Fair (1893); held 1st one-woman show, Paris (1893), which received great acclaim from French critics, who rated The Boating Party as one of her best paintings; bought Château de Beaufresne near Mesnil-Théribus (Oise, 1892); named honorary president of Paris Art League (1904); toured Egypt (1910); caused a sensation when Lady at the Tea Table was exhibited by Durand-Ruel (1914); lived her adult years in France, receiving little attention in US during lifetime; other paintings include The Blue Room (1878), The Loge (1879), Young Women Picking Fruit, Woman Arranging Her Veil and Young Girl in Large Hat.
See also Nancy Hale, Mary Cassatt (Addison-Wesley, 1987); Frederick A. Sweet, Mary Cassatt: Impressionist from Pennsylvania (U. of Oklahoma Press, 1966); Nancy Mowll Mathews, Mary Cassatt: A Life (Villard, 1994); Griselda Pollack, Mary Cassatt (Harper & Row, 1980); and Women in World History.