Mary CassattBorn: 1844, Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, United States of America
Died: 1926, Mesnil-Theribus, Oise, France
BiographyBorn into an affluent family, Mary Stevenson Cassatt determined early that she wanted to be an artist, and by the age of seventeen had enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. After traveling in Europe for five years, she settled permanently in Paris in 1874. Accomplished in painting, pastel drawing, and printmaking, Cassatt was one of the few American artists who achieved recognition on both sides of the Atlantic during her lifetime. Early on, she regularly exhibited at the Salon, the official government-sponsored annual exhibition in France, and by 1877 also exhibited with the independent group that came to be known as the “impressionists.” Cassatt was the only American invited to show with these French artists, which she did in four of their eight exhibitions (1879, 1880, 1881, and 1886). In 1893, her reputation in America was enhanced by her commissioned mural, Modern Woman, for the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Cassatt is known not only for her distinctive art, whose predominant subjects were scenes of women and children in interiors, but also for her advocacy of impressionist art in the United States. Cassatt advised family and friends on the purchase of impressionist works, thus actively contributing to the acceptance and proliferation of the artistic trend in the United States.