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Mary Cassatt

May 22, 1844 - June 14, 1926


Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926) was an American Impressionist painter and printmaker. Born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania to a wealthy family, Cassatt traveled in Europe as part of her education before moving to Paris in 1866, where she spent most of her adult life. Despite the lack of female students in arts education, Cassatt studied with multiple renowned painters and made a career of her art, first exhibiting at the Salon of 1872. In 1877, Edgar Degas, who would serve as her primary mentor after that, invited Cassatt to show her work at the independent Impressionist Exhibition. Cassatt joined the Impressionists and exhibited at four of their eight exhibitions. Though she never married or had children for the sake of her career, Cassatt’s work often focused on the family, especially the theme of mother and child. She was a committed supporter of the suffragette movement. She demonstrated her feminist views through her work by depicting women in traditional roles as independent of the male gaze. Her rejection of the male subject and centering on women’s daily lives attempted to elevate women’s pursuits to the same importance as men’s. She continued creating such art until after 1900 when she had to give up painting and printmaking due to health issues and near blindness. Read more about Mary Cassatt and her work in our blog post here.

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