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Mary Cassatt

Born: 1844, Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, United States of America
Died: 1926, Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France

Summertime
1894

Oil on canvas
Image: 39 5/8 x 32 in. (100.6 x 81.3 cm)
Frame: 49 1/8 x 41 1/2 in. (124.8 x 105.4 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1988.25
Signed: Lower right: Mary Cassatt
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

A woman and a girl look down from their small boat at two swimming ducks in Mary Cassatt’s Summertime. The artist used a compressed vertical format, close-up focus, and dramatically tipped-up perspective, eliminating the horizon and cropping the boat on the right. By thus downplaying the larger setting, she emphasized the figures’ shared absorbed concentration as they gaze downward toward the agitated surface of the water. The woman is genteely garbed for warm weather in a long-sleeved dress, a large hat, and white gloves; in contrast, the girl, her face shaded by a practical sun-hat, wears only a slight sundress whose strap slips casually off her shoulder as she twists to observe the ducks below. Cassatt infuses this fleeting incident of summertime leisure with both intimacy and monumentality.

Having long spent her summers in rented villas, in 1894 Cassatt at last became a homeowner with the purchase of the Château de Beaufresne in Mesnil-Théribus, in the countryside fifty miles northwest of Paris. The property boasted a tree-lined reflecting pool and a resident flock of ducks. In the summers of 1894 and 1895 Cassatt created a small series of images in oil paintings and in prints of figures in boats feeding or observing the ducks, of which Feeding the Ducks (TF 1999.26) is another example.

Summertime marks a turning point in Cassatt’s career. Since 1890 she had done little easel painting, concentrating instead on printmaking and on work on an enormous mural for the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. At her new country home, she worked outdoors, and in this work she created one of the most freely brushed canvases of her career. The bright colors, rich textures, and lack of a horizon in Summertime emphasize the surface of the canvas. The tightly modeled faces and figures of the young woman and girl contrast with the long, energetic brushstrokes in complementary colors--green and red, orange and blue--that suggest the water’s rippling surface and broken reflections. Cassatt’s vigorous painting technique asserts her identification with the movement known as impressionism; the work’s compressed perspective, equal emphasis of ground and figures, and theme of feminine leisure are indebted to Japanese art, which influenced Cassatt’s production particularly after she viewed a Paris exhibition of Japanese prints in 1890.

The intimate but honestly observed relationship between women and children had long been Cassatt’s special theme. In several paintings dating to the early 1890s the artist placed her typical figures in boats. Summertime is directly related to an identically titled canvas (about 1894; Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles), which features the same woman and girl seen from a greater distance, with more of the rowboat and a bit of the shore visible. Because the surface of that painting reflects a less spontaneous application of paint, scholars have suggested that the Terra painting was executed first. Regardless of the relationship between the two, this version of Summertime stands as an important example of Cassatt at the height of her artistic powers.

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Provenance

The artist
Ambroise Vollard, 1906
Private collection, Paris, France, until 1940
Brigadier General M. C. Troper, Paris, France, 1940
Descended in family to daughter, until 1985
Coe Kerr Gallery, Inc., New York, New York, 1985
Daniel J. Terra Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1985
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1988

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Exhibition History

American Impressionism, Coe Kerr Gallery, New York, New York (organizer). Venue: Coe Kerr Gallery, New York, New York, November 7–December 7, 1985. [exh. cat.]

A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, April 21–June 21, 1987. [exh. cat.]

An American Revelation: The Daniel J. Terra Collection, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 28–October 1, 1988.

American Painters in France, 1830–1930, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, June 14–September 3, 1989. [exh. cat.]

Collection Cameo, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 1990.

Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915 (Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, June 1–November 1, 1992; April 1–October 31, 1993; April 1–October 30, 1994; April 1–October 31, 1995. [exh. cat.]

Regard sur Mary Cassatt (Mary Cassatt at a Glance), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 2–October 31, 1996.

Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, October 10, 1998–January 10, 1999; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, February 6–May 19, 1999; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., June 5–September 6, 1999. [exh. cat.]

The Decorative Form: The Aesthetic Movement, Arts & Crafts and the Asian Influence in American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, September 16–December 5, 1999.

Rivières et rivages: les artistes américains, 1850–1900 (Waves and Waterways: American Perspectives, 1850–1900), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2000. [exh. cat.]

Permanent collection installation, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 9, 2000–February 11, 2001.

Selections from the Permanent Collection: Two Centuries of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 10–July 1, 2001.

(Re)Presenting Women, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, October 16, 2001–January 13, 2002.

D'une colonie à une collection: le Musée d'Art Américain Giverny fête ses dix ans (From a Colony to a Collection: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, March 30–June 16, 2002.

A Place on the Avenue: Terra Museum of American Art Celebrates 15 Years in Chicago, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 16, 2002–February 16, 2003 (on exhibit extended run: November 2, 2002–March 2, 2003).

Collection Cameo, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 2003.

Copley to Cassatt: Masterworks from the Terra Collection, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, and Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, September 5–December 7, 2003.

A Narrative of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 13–October 31, 2004.

Expanded Galleries of American Art with Loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2005–May 2007.

Le Temps des loisirs : peintures américainesAt Leisure: American Paintings), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, July 15–October 31, 2007 (included in exhibition through September 2007).

Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, NY and Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, IL (organizers). Venues: National Museum of China, Beijing, China, February 9-April 5, 2007; Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China, April 30-June 30, 2007; Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China, April 30-June 30, 2007. (Shanghai presentations ran concurrently); The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia, July 23–September 9, 2007; Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain, October 15, 2007–April 27, 2008 (exhibited only in Bilbao through January 13, 2008). [exh. cat.]

Le Temps des loisirs : peintures américaines (At Leisure: American Paintings), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2008.

Impressionist Gardens, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland and Museo Thyssen-Bormemisza, Madrid, Spain (organizers). Venues: National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 31–October 17, 2010; Museo Thyssen-Bormemisza and Fundación Caja Madrid, Madrid, Spain, November 23–February 27, 2011. [exh. cat.]

Art Across America, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; National Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizers). Venues: National Museum of Korea, Seoul, February 4– May 12, 2013; Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, South Korea, June 7–September 1, 2013. [exh. cat.]

American Impressionism: a New Vision, 1880–1900 (L'Impressionnisme et les Américains/ Impresionismo Americano (French & Spanish titles), Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, Giverny, France and the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (organizers). Venues: Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, Giverny, France, March 28–June 29, 2014; Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, July 19–October 19, 2014; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain, November 4, 2014–February 1, 2015. [exh. cat.]

Mary Cassatt - Retrospective, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, NHK, Tokyo, Japan and NHK Productions, Tokyo, Japan (organizers); Venues: Yokohama Museum of Art, June 25 – September 11, 2016; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, September 27 – December 4, 2016 [exh. cat.]

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Published References

American Impressionism. (exh. cat., Coe Kerr Gallery). New York: Coe Kerr Gallery, 1985. Text; ill. cover, fig. 5 (as Summertime: Woman and Child in a Rowboat).

American Paintings from the Armand Hammer Collection: An Inaugural Celebration. (exh. cat. National Gallery of Art). Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1985. Text p. 141.

"American Impressionism." The Magazine Antiques 128, no. 5 (November 1985): 816. Ill. p. 816 (color).

Shone, Richard. “Selected Autumn Exhibitions. New York.” The Burlington Magazine 128, no. 994 (January 1986): 58-63. Text p. 60; ill. p. 62, fig. 71.

Atkinson, D. Scott et al. A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art. Edited by Terry A. Neff. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of American Art). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1987. Ill. p. 171, pl. T-62 (color).

Shelby, Carole. American Painters in France, 1830–1930. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of Art, Chicago). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Museum of Art, 1989. Text p. 6; p. 13, cat. no. 9 (checklist); ill. no. 9 (color).

Summertime, Mary Cassatt. Collection Cameo sheet, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 1990. Ill. (black & white).

Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover." The Journal of the American Medical Association 266:4 (July 24/31, 1991): cover, 454. Text p. 454; ill. cover (color).

Southgate, M. Therese. “The Cover.” The Journal of the American Medical Association Pakistan 4, no. 8 (October 1992): cover. Ill. cover (color).

Gerdts, William H. et al. Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text pp. 248, 251, 254; ill. p. 250, pl. 72 (color).

Gerdts, William H. et al. Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text pp. 248, 251, 254; ill. p. 250, pl. 72 (color).

De Vries-Evans, Susanna. The Impressionists Revealed: Masterpieces from Private Collections. Auckland, New Zealand: David Bateman, Ltd., 1992. Ill. p. 98 (color)

Buser, Thomas. Experiencing Art Around Us. St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Company, 1995. Text pp. 83-85, 188-189, 401-402, 550; ill. cover, pp. 83, 188, 401, 550 (all images in color, as Summertime: Woman and Child in a Rowboat).

Costantino, Maria. Mary Cassatt. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1995. Ill. p. 80 (color).

Regard sur cinq années d'expositions. (Five years of Exhibitions at a Glance). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1997. Text pp. 47 (checklist), 115, 119 no. 10 (checklist); ill. p. 112, no. 10 (color).

Mancoff, Debra N. Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives. London, England: Frances Lincoln, 1998. Text p. 70; ill. p. 71 (color).

Barter, Judith A. Mary Cassatt, Modern Woman. (exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago). Chicago, Illinois: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1999. Text p. 325, cat. no. 76 (checklist); ill. p. 298, cat. no. 76 (color).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Waves and Waterways: American Perspectives, 1850–1900. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text pp. 11, 26 (checklist); ill. p. 12, fig. 3 (black & white).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Rivières et rivages: les artistes américains, 1850–1900. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text pp. 11, 26 (checklist); ill. p. 12, fig. 3 (black & white).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. An American Point of View: The Daniel J. Terra Collection. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 128, 192; ill. pp. 14 (color), 129 (color), 192 (black & white).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. Un regard transatlantique. La collection d'art américain de Daniel J. Terra. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 128, 192; ill. pp. 14 (color), 129 (color), 192 (black & white).

Kennedy, Elizabeth. "The Terra Museum of American Art." American Art Review (December 2002): 126–41. Text p. 138; ill. p. 135 (color).

Clayson, Hollis. Summertime, Mary Cassatt. Collection Cameo sheet, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 2003. Ill. (color).

Mary Cassatt: Impressions. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for American Art; Paris: Le Passage Paris–New York Éditions, 2005. Ill. p. 76 (color).

Buser, Thomas. Experiencing Art Around Us. Australia; United States: Thomas Wadsworth, 2006. Text pp. 57-58, 141-142, 319, 321, 467; ill. pp. 57, 141, 319, 467 (color, as Summertime: Woman and Child in a Rowboat).

Davidson, Susan, ed. Art in the USA: 300 años de innovación. (exh. cat., Guggenheim Museum Bilbao). New York, NY: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Chicago, IL: Terra Foundation for American Art, 2007. Ill. p. 121 (color).

Willsdon, Clare A. P. Impressionist Gardens. (exh. cat., National Galleries of Scotland). Edinburgh, Scotland: National Galleries of Scotland, 2010. Text p. 72, cat no. 45; p. 155, cat. no. 45; ill. p. 73 (color).

Willsdon, Clare A. P. Jardines Impressionistas. (exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Madrid). Madrid, Spain: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2010. Text p. 214; ill. p. 264 (color).

Dorment, Richard. “Impressionist Gardens at the National Galleries of Scotland, review.” Telegraph (August 2, 2010). Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/7922704/Impressionist-Gardens-at-the-National-Galleries-of-Scotland-review.html. Text.

Daverio, Philippe. Il Museo Immaginato: il Secolo Lungo della Modernità. Milan, Italy: RSC Libri Spa, 2012. Ill. p. 453 (color).

Art Across America. (exh. cat., National Museum of Korea, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Terra Foundation for American Art). Seoul, South Korea: National Museum of Korea, 2013. Text pp. 38, 227; ill. p. 38, fig. 36 (color), p. 226 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. American Impressionism: A New Vision 1880–1900. (exh. cat., Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, National Galleries of Scotland, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza). Giverny, France: Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, 2014. Text p. 27; ill. p. 63 (color), cover (color, detail).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. L’Impressionnisme et les Américains. (exh. cat., Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, National Galleries of Scotland, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza). Giverny, France: Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, 2014. (English, French and Spanish versions). Text p. 27; ill. p. 63 (color), cover (color, detail).

Bourguinon, Katherine M. Impresionismo Americano. (exh. cat., Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, National Galleries of Scotland, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza). Giverny, France: Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny, 2014. (English, French and Spanish versions). Text p. 27; ill. p. 63 (color), cover (color, detail).

Hamilton, Adrian. “American Impressionism: An exhibition shows how Monet and Degas Influenced a Generation of Artists.” The Independent (August 31, 2014). Accessed December 15, 2016. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/american-impressionism-an-exhibition-shows-how-monet-and-degas-influenced-a-generation-of-artists-9702536.html. Ill. Ikeda, Yuko, et al. Mary Cassatt Retrospective. (exh. cat. Yokohama Museum of Art; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto). Yokohama, Japan: Yokohama Museum of Art, 2016. Text p. 84; p. 210, cat. no. 51 (checklist); ill. p. 85 (color).

Mowll Mathews, Nancy, Flavie Durand-Ruel Mouraux, and Pierre Curie. Mary Cassatt: An American Impressionist in Paris. (exh. cat, Musee Jacqumart-Andre) Brussels: Fonds Mercator, 2018, distributed by Yale University Press, New Haven. Text pp. 128; pl. 46, p. 131 (color).

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