Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926) was an American painter and printmaker. She was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh’s North Side), but lived much of her adult life in France. Her work is distinguished by its portrayal of the lives of women, especially mothers and children.
Cassatt often employed a looser brushstroke than many of her contemporaries; she also experimented with a variety of printmaking techniques. As a member of the Impressionists, she exhibited her work in numerous group shows; however, she preferred to mount solo exhibitions of her own work.
In May 1877, Cassatt was one of the first American painters to exhibit at the newly opened Impressionist exhibition in Paris. She continued to participate in Impressionist exhibitions until 1886, when she joined a group of painters who broke away from the main Impressionist movement to form the “Independent” or “Intransigent” group (also known as the ” Salon des Refusés”).
Cassatt was one of only two American artists (the other being John Singer Sargent) invited to join this group.
Despite her high regard for many of the Impressionists, Cassatt eventually became disillusioned with the group’s inability to move beyond its initial aesthetic style. In 1890, she stopped participating in Impressionist exhibitions altogether.
In 1891,Cassatt helped organize an exhibition of American artists in Paris, which proved to be quite successful. This led to the foundation of the Society of American Artists in 1897, of which she became an active member.
In 1904, Cassatt was one of a group of painters who founded the Association Américaine des Beaux-Arts, and she served as its first president.
In 1914, Cassatt visited the United States for the first time in over 20 years. She was greatly affected by the outbreak of World War I, and used her art to express her views on the conflict.
During the war years, Cassatt became increasingly interested in politics, and she joined the American Legion Auxiliary. She also became a vocal advocate for women’s suffrage.
In the 1920s, Cassatt’s health began to decline, and she stopped painting altogether. She died in 1926, at the age of 82.
Mary Cassatt was one of the most important American artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was a pioneer of the Impressionist movement in the United States, and her work is distinguished by its honest and intimate portrayal of the lives of women. Cassatt’s art continues to inspire artists and art lovers around the world.