Cover of Forty Sandra Forty: Mary Cassatt

Forty Sandra Forty Mary Cassatt

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Although an American, Mary Cassatt spent the majority of her life in France and gained most of her fame and success in Europe. Not until after her death on June 14, 1926, at Chateau de Beaufresne, near Paris, did she become a truly celebrated American artist. Cassatt is known most for her paintings and pastels of mothers and their children. Never having been a mother herself, perhaps Cassatt was mesmerized by the familial bond so evident to observers of these unique relationships and in particular to someone with an artist’s eye, just like that of Mary Cassatt. The only American, and only the second female, to be associated with the Impressionists—at the invitation of Edgar Degas, a very close friend— Cassat’s work was invigorated and enlivened by the exposure to the other Impressionists’ avant garde ideas. Cassatt’s contribution to history lies not only in the art she produced, but also in the role she played in bringing the work of the major Impressionists, such as Degas, Manet, and Corot, as well as others, such as El Greco and Rembrandt, to the United States.

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