Portrait of Mary Cassatt (c.1880 – c.1884) by Edgar Degas

Portrait of Mary Cassatt - Edgar Degas - c.1880 - c.1884

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Mary Cassatt
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1880 - c.1884
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationNational Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, USA

About Portrait of Mary Cassatt

The artwork “Portrait of Mary Cassatt” was created by Edgar Degas, a renowned artist associated with the Impressionism movement. The portrait, dating between circa 1880 and circa 1884, depicts the American painter Mary Cassatt, who was also a part of the Impressionist circle. This work falls under the genre of portraiture and is part of the collection at the National Portrait Gallery located in Washington, DC, USA.

The painting portrays Mary Cassatt in a three-quarter view, engaging the viewer with a direct and contemplative gaze. The artist employs loose and expressive brushstrokes, a characteristic of the Impressionist style, rendering texture and movement even in the stillness of the portrait. Cassatt is dressed in attire that suggests a blend of casualness and refinement, consistent with a private moment rather than a formal setting. The palette consists of a harmony of muted and warm tones, punctuated by the contrast of darker elements and the flesh tones of her face and hands, which draw attention to her thoughtful expression. The composition allows the subject’s personality and presence to resonate, a tribute to the esteem in which Degas held Cassatt, both as an artist and a friend. The background of the painting is rendered in an abstract manner, providing an impression of the environment rather than a detailed description, thus keeping the focus on the figure herself.

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