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 :. | In the Loge | Woman on a Striped Sofa with a Dog | Mother and Child vvv | Lydia at the Theatre | The Lamp |
Related Artists:Piero di Cosimo
Italian Piero di Cosimo Galleries
Italian painter and draughtsman.
Tax declarations made by Piero di Cosimo's father suggest that the artist was born in either 1461 or 1462. According to the first, he was eight years old in 1469, while a catasto (land registry declaration) of 1480 gives his age as 18. A document of 1457 establishes that his father, Lorenzo di Piero d'Antonio, was a maker of small tools (succhiellinaio) rather than a goldsmith, as Vasari claimed. By 1480 Piero appears no longer to have been living at the family house in the Via della Scala, Florence, but was an unsalaried apprentice or workshop assistant to Cosimo Rosselli, from whom he received room and board and eventually took the name of Piero di Cosimo.Jean Clouet
French Painter, ca.1485-1541
painter. He was chief painter to Francis I and produced many pastel portraits of members of the French court. Clouet was one of the best 16th-century portrait painters, both incisive and delicate in the psychological characterization of sitters. His drawings are simple, broad, and subtle; his paintings are fresh in colour, subdued in modeling, and minute in execution. He was celebrated in his lifetime as the equal of Michelangelo. His son Francois Clouet (c. 1515 ?C 72) took his place as official painter to Francis I in 1540.Maria Catharina Wiik
(b Helsinki, 2 Aug 1853; d Helsinki, 19 June 1928). Finnish painter. She studied in Paris at the Academie Julian from 1875 to 1876 under Tony Robert-Fleury and continued her studies with him in the same studio between 1877 and 1880. Her paintings appeared at the Salon for the first time in 1880 (e.g. Marietta, 1880; Helsinki, priv. col., see Katerma, p. 31). The realist techniques Wiik absorbed in Paris came to form the basis of her work, tranquil in composition and restrained in colour. Her favourite subjects were relatively small-scale portraits such as Hilda Wiik (1881; Helsinki, Athenaeum A. Mus.) and still-lifes (e.g. Still-life, c. 1880; Helsinki, Athenaeum A. Mus.). Like many other foreign painters Wiik went to Brittany to paint. In 1883-4 she worked in Concarneau and Pont-Aven, where her enthusiasm for plein-air painting brought immediacy to her work and greater brightness to her colours (e.g. Breton Farm, 1883; Naantali, Fereningen Hedvigsminne). She preferred to record her impressions in portraits, although she also painted small, light-filled landscapes. In 1889 Wiik worked under the direction of Puvis de Chavannes in Henri Bouvet's studio in Paris, and in the same year she visited St Ives where she painted, among others, two major works: Out in the World (Helsinki, Athenaeum A. Mus.) and the St Ives Girl (Helsinki, priv. col., see Katerma, p. 93). Both works show Wiik moving towards an ever more internalized and minimal mode of expression, thereby taking part in the process that led, in the 1890s, to a general abandonment of realism in favour of a greater emphasis on emotion. Out in the World, which shows an old woman's sad parting from a young girl who is leaving home to begin work, shows a change in technique with the use of more united colour surfaces and of tone painting. (This work was awarded a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.) During the 1890s and the early 20th century Wiik's travels were concentrated in Scandinavia, although she visited Paris in 1905.