Mary Cassatt was an accomplished artist in the nineteenth century, during a time when it was uncommon for women to pursue a professional career. One of her prominent realistic portrait paintings is “Portrait Of A Lady,” completed in 1877. The painting stands out among Cassatt’s other notable works, such as “The Bath” and “Summertime.”
Influenced by Edgar Degas, who invited her to exhibit with the Impressionists, Cassatt’s portraits of middle-class women were never simplistic. Hidden behind the light brushwork and new hues of her Impressionist style were layers of significance. This can be seen in subjects like “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair.” It is worth noting that despite herself never marrying or having children, she mostly painted middle-class ladies.
Cassatt was known for her strong character and studied abroad throughout her career. She even painted a self-portrait, one of only two known shortly after exhibiting with the Impressionists. Her influence flowed across both sides of the Atlantic – she was regarded as a trailblazing artist and notably exhibited with French Impressionists while being from America.
Looking at Cassatt’s oeuvre gives us insight into her artistic legacy and its continued importance today.