Mary Cassatt Galleries
Within months of her return to Europe in the autumn of 1871, Cassatt??s prospects had brightened. Her painting Two Women Throwing Flowers During Carnival was well received in the Salon of 1872, and was purchased. She attracted much favorable notice in Parma and was supported and encouraged by the art community there: ??All Parma is talking of Miss Cassatt and her picture, and everyone is anxious to know her??.
After completing her commission for the archbishop, Cassatt traveled to Madrid and Seville, where she painted a group of paintings of Spanish subjects, including Spanish Dancer Wearing a Lace Mantilla (1873, in the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution). In 1874, she made the decision to take up residence in France. She was joined by her sister Lydia who shared an apartment with her. Cassatt continued to express criticism of the politics of the Salon and the conventional taste that prevailed there. She was blunt in her comments, as reported by Sartain, who wrote: ??she is entirely too slashing, snubs all modern art, disdains the Salon pictures of Cabanel, Bonnat, all the names we are used to revere??. Cassatt saw that works by female artists were often dismissed with contempt unless the artist had a friend or protector on the jury, and she would not flirt with jurors to curry favor. Her cynicism grew when one of the two pictures she submitted in 1875 was refused by the jury, only to be accepted the following year after she darkened the background. She had quarrels with Sartain, who thought Cassatt too outspoken and self-centered, and eventually they parted. Out of her distress and self-criticism, Cassatt decided that she needed to move away from genre paintings and onto more fashionable subjects, in order to attract portrait commissions from American socialites abroad, but that attempt bore little fruit at first.
In 1877, both her entries were rejected, and for the first time in seven years she had no works in the Salon. At this low point in her career she was invited by Edgar Degas to show her works with the Impressionists, a group that had begun their own series of independent exhibitions in 1874 with much attendant notoriety. The Impressionists (also known as the ??Independents?? or ??Intransigents??) had no formal manifesto and varied considerably in subject matter and technique. They tended to prefer open air painting and the application of vibrant color in separate strokes with little pre-mixing, which allows the eye to merge the results in an ??impressionistic?? manner. The Impressionists had been receiving the wrath of the critics for several years. Henry Bacon, a friend of the Cassatts, thought that the Impressionists were so radical that they were ??afflicted with some hitherto unknown disease of the eye??. They already had one female member, artist Berthe Morisot, who became Cassatt??s friend and colleague.
Degas, Portrait of Miss Cassatt, Seated, Holding Cards, c. 1876-1878, oil on canvasCassatt admired Degas, whose pastels had made a powerful impression on her when she encountered them in an art dealer's window in 1875. "I used to go and flatten my nose against that window and absorb all I could of his art," she later recalled. "It changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it." She accepted Degas' invitation with enthusiasm, and began preparing paintings for the next Impressionist show, planned for 1878, which (after a postponement because of the World??s Fair) took place on April 10, 1879. She felt comfortable with the Impressionists and joined their cause enthusiastically, declaring: ??we are carrying on a despairing fight & need all our forces??. Unable to attend cafes with them without attracting unfavorable attention, she met with them privately and at exhibitions. She now hoped for commercial success selling paintings to the sophisticated Parisians who preferred the avant-garde. Her style had gained a new spontaneity during the intervening two years. Previously a studio-bound artist, she had adopted the practice of carrying a sketchbook with her while out-of-doors or at the theater, and recording the scenes she saw.
Summertime, c. 1894, oil on canvasIn 1877, Cassatt was joined in Paris by her father and mother, who returned with her sister Lydia. Mary valued their companionship, as neither she nor Lydia had married. Mary had decided early in life that marriage would be incompatible with her career. Lydia, who was frequently painted by her sister, suffered from recurrent bouts of illness, and her death in 1882 left Cassatt temporarily unable to work.
Cassatt??s father insisted that her studio and supplies be covered by her sales, which were still meager. Afraid of having to paint ??potboilers?? to make ends meet, Cassatt applied herself to produce some quality paintings for the next Impressionist exhibition. Three of her most accomplished works from 1878 were Portrait of the Artist (self-portrait), Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, and Reading Le Figaro (portrait of her mother).
Degas had considerable influence on Cassatt. She became extremely proficient in the use of pastels, eventually creating many of her most important works in this medium. Degas also introduced her to etching, of which he was a recognized master. The two worked side-by-side for awhile, and her draftsmanship gained considerable strength under his tutelage. He depicted her in a series of etchings recording their trips to the Louvre. She had strong feelings for him but learned not to expect too much from his fickle and temperamental nature. The sophisticated and well-dressed Degas, then forty-five, was a welcome dinner guest at the Cassatt residence.
The Impressionist exhibit of 1879 was the most successful to date, despite the absence of Renoir, Sisley, Manet and C??zanne, who were attempting once again to gain recognition at the Salon. Through the efforts of Gustave Caillebotte, who organized and underwrote the show, the group made a profit and sold many works, although the criticism continued as harsh as ever. The Revue des Deux Mondes wrote, ??M. Degas and Mlle. Cassatt are, nevertheless, the only artists who distinguish themselves??and who offer some attraction and some excuse in the pretentious show of window dressing and infantile daubing??.
Cassatt displayed eleven works, including La Loge. Although critics claimed that Cassatt??s colors were too bright and that her portraits were too accurate to be flattering to the subjects, her work was not savaged as was Monet's, whose circumstances were the most desperate of all the Impressionists at that time. She used her share of the profits to purchase a work by Degas and one by Monet. She exhibited in the Impressionist Exhibitions that followed in 1880 and 1881, and she remained an active member of the Impressionist circle until 1886. In 1886, Cassatt provided two paintings for the first Impressionist exhibition in the United States, organized by art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. Her friend Louisine Elder married Harry Havemeyer in 1883, and with Cassatt as advisor, the couple began collecting the Impressionists on a grand scale. Much of their vast collection is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She also made several portraits of family members during that period, of which Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and His Son Robert Kelso (1885) is one of her best regarded. Cassatt??s style then evolved, and she moved away from Impressionism to a simpler, more straightforward approach. She began to exhibit her works in New York galleries as well. After 1886, Cassatt no longer identified herself with any art movement and experimented with a variety of techniques.
Related Paintings of Mary Cassatt :. | Lydia at the Theatre | Offering the Panal to the Toreador | The Tea | The hair style | On the Meadow |
Related Artists:Marianne Stokes
(1855 Graz, Styria - August 1927 London), born Marianne Preindlsberger in the Austrian province of Styria, was an Austrian painter. She settled in England after her marriage to Adrian Scott Stokes (1854-1935), the landscape painter, whom she had met in Pont-Aven. Marianne Stokes was considered one of the leading artists in Victorian England.
Preindlsberger first studied in Munich under Lindenschmidt and having been awarded a scholarship for her first picture, 'Muttergluck', she worked in France under Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929), Colin and Gustave Courtois (1853-1923). She painted in the countryside and Paris, and, as with many other young painters, fell under the spell of the rustic naturalist Jules Bastien-Lepage. Her style continued to show his influence even when her subject matter changed from rustic to medieval romantic and biblical. While in France she met the Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, in whose company she visited Pont-Aven in 1883.
Her first salon painting, 'Reflection', which had been painted in Brittany, was exhibited in 1885 at the Royal Academy. Her work was also shown at the Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, and the Society of British Artists and in 1885, a year after her marriage, she took to using the name 'Mrs. Adrian Stokes'. She held a joint exhibition with her husband at the Fine Art Society in 1900. The Stokes' lived in St Ives where Marianne was a member of the Newlyn School. Having no children, they regularly travelled abroad, frequently to the Tyrol, and in 1905 to Slovakia and the High Tatra. Here they spent about half a year sketching and painting in the villages of Važec, Mengusovce and Ždiar. Adrian Stokes concentrated on landscapes with images of hay-harvesting and picturesque cottages, while Marianne Stokes painted portraits showing fine detail of the garments. These paintings provide a valuable record of the Slovak culture.
After abandoning oils, and inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, she painted flat compositions in tempera and gesso, her paintings giving the impression of being frescoes on plaster surfaces. She was an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours.
Italian Painter, 1835-1901
was an Italian artist who belonged to the group known as the Macchiaioli. He was born in the Santa Croce quarter of Florence, and showed an early inclination toward the study of literature, but with the encouragement of his father, Giovanni Signorini, a court painter for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he decided instead to study painting. In 1852 he enrolled at the Florentine Academy, and by 1854 he was painting landscapes en plein air. The following year he exhibited for the first time, showing paintings inspired by the works of Walter Scott and Machiavelli at the Florentine Promotrice. In 1855, he began frequenting the Caffe Michelangiolo in Florence, where he met Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, and several other Tuscan artists who would soon be dubbed the Macchiaioli. The Macchiaioli, dissatisfied with the antiquated conventions taught by the Italian academies of art, started painting outdoors in order to capture natural light, shade, and color. They were forerunners of the Impressionists who, beginning in the 1860s, would pursue similar aims in France. Signorini was a volunteer in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, and afterwards painted military scenes which he exhibited in 1860 and 1861. He made his first trip outside Italy in 1861 when he visited Paris, to which he would often return in the decades that followed. There he met Degas and a group of expatriate Italian artists in his orbit, including Giovanni Boldini, Giuseppe De Nittis, and Federico Zandomeneghi; unlike them, however, Signorini remained rooted in Italy. He became not only one of the leading painters of the Macchiaioli, but also their leading polemicist. Art historian Giuliano Matteucci has written: "If we acknowledge Fattori and Lega as the major creative figures of the macchiaioli, then Signorini must surely be recognized as their 'deus ex machina'", Alexander von Humboldt
Berlin 1769-1859 Berlin,was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography was foundational to the field of biogeography. Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled to Latin America, exploring and describing it from a scientific point of view for the first time. His description of the journey was written up and published in an enormous set of volumes over 21 years. He was one of the first to propose that the lands bordering the Atlantic were once joined (South America and Africa in particular). Later, his five-volume work Kosmos (1845) attempted to unify the various branches of scientific knowledge.