"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mary Cassatt

This 1880-84 portrait of Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) by Edgar Degas hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"The American impressionist Mary Cassatt spent her career in Europe, settling in Paris. Stifled by tradition, she regarded her exposure to the work of Edgar Degas in 1874 as a 'turning point in my artistic life.' She later wrote that 'Degas's art is for the very few,' recognizing a critical sophistication required to appreciate his innovations. After her rejection by the Paris Salon of 1877, Cassatt welcomed Degas's invitation to exhibit with the impressionists in 1879. Cassatt and Degas engaged in lively dialogues about the depiction of modern life, and their vibrant artistic exchange is evident in her willingness to model for him on several occasions. They also collected each other's work. Degas captures the collaborative nature of their friendship in this portrait, where Cassatt is shown in what may be a photography studio holding photographs, possibly reproductions of works of art, seated, as if in the midst of conversation." -- National Portrait Gallery

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