Mary Cassatt, an American painter and printmaker, exhibited a series of ten color prints titled “La Toilette” during her first independent exhibition in 1891. Cassatt was one of the three women Impressionist painters and the only American artist to be fully integrated into the movement. Although not familiar with printmaking, she worked with assistance to create these pieces.
“The Child’s Bath,” another work by Cassatt, is a culmination of her experimentation with decorative patterning on a flattened picture plane influenced by Japanese aesthetics. Her largest work was a mural for the Women’s Building of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that measured 58-by-12 feet.
Cassatt produced “La Toilette” before seeing a large exhibition on Japanese prints in Paris in 1890, after which she went on to create another series of prints influenced by Japanese style. Overall, La Toilette stands out as an iconic masterpiece because it showcases Mary Cassatt’s artistry and exploration while being part of her journey as one of America’s greatest impressionist painters.