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 | Kiss | At the Theatre | Children on the Beach | Drinks trying to reach an apple |
Related Artists:James Ensor
Belgian painter, printmaker and draughtsman. No single label adequately describes the visionary work produced by Ensor between 1880 and 1900, his most productive period. His pictures from that time have both Symbolist and Realist aspects, and in spite of his dismissal of the Impressionists as superficial daubers he was profoundly concerned with the effects of light. His imagery and technical procedures anticipated the colouristic brilliance and violent impact of Fauvism and German Expressionism and the psychological fantasies of Surrealism. Ensor most memorable and influential work was almost exclusively produced before 1900, but he was largely unrecognized before the 1920s in his own country. His work was highly influential in Germany, however: Emil Nolde visited him in 1911, and was influenced by his use of masks; Paul Klee mentions him admiringly in his diaries; Erich Heckel came to see him in the middle of the war and painted his portrait (1930; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus.); Alfred Kubin owned several of his prints, while Marc Chagall and George Grosz also adapted certain elements from Ensor. All the artists of the Cobra group saw him as a master. He influenced many Belgian artists including Leon Spilliaert, Rik Wouters, Constant Permeke, Frits van den Berghe, Paul Delvaux and Pierre Alechinsky.Thomas Gainsborough
Thomas Gainsborough Locations
English painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was the contemporary and rival of Joshua Reynolds, who honoured him on 10 December 1788 with a valedictory Discourse (pubd London, 1789), in which he stated: If ever this nation should produce genius sufficient to acquire to us the honourable distinction of an English School, the name of Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity, in the history of Art, among the very first of that rising name. He went on to consider Gainsborough portraits, landscapes and fancy pictures within the Old Master tradition, against which, in his view, modern painting had always to match itself. Reynolds was acknowledging a general opinion that Gainsborough was one of the most significant painters of their generation. Less ambitious than Reynolds in his portraits, he nevertheless painted with elegance and virtuosity. He founded his landscape manner largely on the study of northern European artists and developed a very beautiful and often poignant imagery of the British countryside. By the mid-1760s he was making formal allusions to a wide range of previous art, from Rubens and Watteau to, eventually, Claude and Titian. He was as various in his drawings and was among the first to take up the new printmaking techniques of aquatint and soft-ground etching. Because his friend, the musician and painter William Jackson (1730-1803), claimed that Gainsborough detested reading, there has been a tendency to deny him any literacy. He was, nevertheless, as his surviving letters show, verbally adept, extremely witty and highly cultured. He loved music and performed well. He was a person of rapidly changing moods, humorous, brilliant and witty. At the time of his death he was expanding the range of his art, having lived through one of the more complex and creative phases in the history of British painting. He painted with unmatched skill and bravura; while giving the impression of a kind of holy innocence, he was among the most artistically learned and sophisticated painters of his generation. It has been usual to consider his career in terms of the rivalry with Reynolds that was acknowledged by their contemporaries; while Reynolds maintained an intellectual and academic ideal of art, Gainsborough grounded his imagery on contemporary life, maintaining an aesthetic outlook previously given its most powerful expression by William Hogarth. His portraits, landscapes and subject pictures are only now coming to be studied in all their complexity; having previously been viewed as being isolated from the social, philosophical and ideological currents of their time, they have yet to be fully related to them. It is clear, however, that his landscapes and rural pieces, and some of his portraits, were as significant as Reynolds acknowledged them to be in 1788.George Knapton
George Knapton (1698-1778) was an English portrait painter and the first portraitist for the Society of Dilettanti in the 1740s. He became Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures from 1765-1778.
Knapton was born in London, the son of James Knapton, a Bookseller of Ludgate street. He studied art under Jonathan Richardson, then at the St. Martin's Lane Academy. He spent some years in Italy where he became known as a sound judge of the works of the "Old Masters". An account of his vist to Herculaneum was published in the "Philosophical Transactions" of 1740 (no. 458).
Knapton was an original member of the "Society of Dilettanti" and their first portrait artist. He painted many members of the society - mostly in fancy dress - including the Duke of Dorset, Viscount Galway, Sir Francis Dashwood, the Earl of Holdernesse, Earl of Bessborough and Sir Bourchier Wray. Knapton resigned his position at the society in 1763.
In 1750, the then Prince of Wales commissioned Knapton, together with George Vertue, to produce a catalogue of the pictures at Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and Windsor castle. In 1765, he succeeded Stephen Slaughter as Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures; he was also in charge of Lord Spencer's collection at Althorp, Northamptonshire.
The Family of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1751)Knapton's largest painting was that of the widowed Princess of Wales and her family (1751). He also painted portraits of the Earl of Upper Ossory (with his brother and sister), the Earl of Burlington, Admiral Sir John Norris, Francis, Fifth Duke of Leeds, Admiral George Vandeput, Archibald Bower, Nicolas Tindal, Hildebrand Jacob, Admiral Edward Hawke, and the singers Carestini and Lisabetta du Parc.
Kanpton assisted his brothers, John and Paul - who had succeeded to and extended their father's business - in the production of several publications including works by Thomas Birch and "The History of England" by Nicolas Tindal and Paul de Rapin.
Knapton died in Kensington in December 1778 and was buried there on the 28th of that same month.