Mary Cassatt


Mary Cassatt


Allegheny City, Pennsylvania


Mother-child portrait and genre painting, etching


Mary Stevenson

Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt is best known for her mother and child compositions and also for her color prints, based on Japanese woodblock techniques and that combined drypoint, etching, and aquatint. From 1890, she had her own printing press at her home.

Her favorite theme was that of mother and child. Without sentimentalizing the mother-child relationship, she pictured it clearly, and each time new, in its unnumerable facets.

In 1893 she was commissioned to paint part of the decorations at the World’s Fair in Chicago; it was one of the first awards of such importance to a woman. Her oils and pastels regularly fetched six and occasionally, seven figure prices. Experts long debated Cassatt’s status as an American Impressionist on the grounds that she was an expatriate who did most of her work in France.