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Mary Cassatt

Artist

Born: 22 May 1844
Died: 14 June 1926
Birthplace: Allegheny City, Pennsylvania
Best known as: Painter of 1891's The Bath
Mary Cassatt was an American painter of the late 19th century, known for bold composition and fine detail in scenes of mother and child domesticity. From a well-to-do family in Pennsylvania, she studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1861-65) before heading off to tour Europe. She visited Italy, Spain, Holland and France while studying and copying the masters, then settled in Paris around 1874. Through her friendship with Edgar Degas she became associated with the Impressionists, and between 1879 and 1886 she participated in four exhibits. An experimenter and student of technique, her 1891 collection of Japanese-inspired prints proved she was on her own course, distinct from Impressionism. Her work is characterized by a mix of strong lines and soft palettes; most of her paintings feature day-to-day scenes of family, though Cassatt herself never married and had no children. Cassatt was a professional artist who made a good living in France, and she promoted French Impressionist artists in the U.S. by way of her brother Alexander, a successful railroad executive. Some of her best-known paintings are The Bath (1891), The Boating Party (1894), The Morning Toilet (1886) and Mother Feeding A Child (1898). After 1910 her eyesight was failing, and she gave up painting altogether in 1914.
Extra credit: Allegheny City, her hometown, was annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1907.

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