Friday, May 22, 2009

Mary Cassatt

On this day in 1844, Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania to a wealthy family and later moved from Philadelphia to study painting from the masters in Paris.

She was one of only a handful of women accepted by and exhibiting with the Impressionists of her day. Her work was very much influenced by one of her teachers, Edgar Degas, yet she retained her own style -- focusing on everyday scenes.

Cassatt painted numerous needlewomen and is particularly noted for her heart-warming portraits of mother and child. But, it is her portraits of needlewomen, to which I am drawn the most.

If artwork of needlewomen is something you'd like to explore, then you must not miss this book -- In Praise of the Needlewoman: Embroiderers, Knitters, Lacemakers and Weavers in Art by Gail Carolyn Sirna.

It's absolutely wonderful with many, many color plates of artwork whose subject matter are all women and the needlearts! The pictures in this post are just a few of Ms. Cassatt's works that are included in this beautiful book along with many other distinguished artists such as Renoir, Monet, Caillebotte, and another female favorite and contemporary friend to Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot...

Interestingly enough, my favorite needlewoman portrait painted by Ms Cassatt is not included in this book. It is this one...
Woman in Black and Green Bonnet, Sewing ca. 1880 Oil on canvas, from a private collection...which I was lucky to see in person last Summer at the Women Impressionists' exhibit at the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco.

I love that there is no background to distract us from the sewer...she is completely absorbed in her work as we are in her. I was surprised at how bold and large the brushstrokes were -- but the overall effect is mesmerizing to me.

And, here is Miss Cassatt herself painted by none other than Edgar Degas...Portrait of Miss Cassatt, seated, holding cards ca. 1876 -88, oil on canvas.

Happy Birthday.


Allison Ann Aller said...

Ravishing, Susan!!!!
Thank you so much......

MargB said...

Thankyou Susan, very much - i noticed it was her birthday yesterday because of Google's heading. I love the collection you have shared - her work is beautiful.

Judy S. said...

Thanks for sharing these photos, Susan. Did you see the painting on Google?

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Susan,

This is Suzanne Bruno leaving you a note, I"m Helen McEntee's sister in law in Maine. Mary Cassatt is my favorite painter for all the reasons you list! I used to like Georgia O'Keefe before my children were born but things change don't they? Anyway, I have so thoroughly enjoyed your blog and your work is beautiful. Have you had much luck using flat silk on things other than traditional Japanese embroidery? I bought some to play around with.
Suzanne Bruno

Chris said...

A wonderful post today! Have fun and good luck at the triathalon today!

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