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 :. | At the Window | The Caress | Woman in Black | Gathering Fruit | Little Girl in a Blue Armchair |
Related Artists:Stefan Luchian
Romanian Painter, 1868-1916
Romanian painter. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, graduating in 1889 and continuing his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Kenste in Munich and in Paris at the Academie Julian, where he was a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau. He rejected the rigidity of academic painting early in his career, however. The Last Autumn Race (1892; Bucharest, Mus. A.), one of the few paintings known from this period, clearly illustrates the influence of Manet and Impressionism on his early work. On his return to Romania in 1892 Luchian, unwilling to restrict his work to merely copying the French artists, struggled to create an original style. In 1900 he was left partially paralysed by a spinal disease, but he continued to work, and it is during the next years that he created his most accomplished works. His self-portraits (e.g. 1907; Bucharest, Mus. A.) are clear evidence of his determination to overcome this personal tragedy; far from inspiring pity, these paintings emphasize the depth and the strength of his inner life. It is in landscapes such as Willows at Chiajna (c. 1907; Cluj-Napoca, Mus. A.), however, that his commitment becomes even more apparent, with joyful rhythms created by means of broad brushstrokes and contrasts of bright colours next to delicate tones. Towards the end of his life Luchian became completely immobilized. During this time flowers were his favourite subject (e.g. Safta, the Flower Girl; Bucharest, N. Mus. A.; see also ROMANIA, fig. 9), and they became a metaphorical bridge between the artist and the outside world. The colours are still bright in these last paintings, and the loss of pastel tones makes the contrast more dramatic.Walter Leistikow
1865-1908,German painter, decorative artist, etcher, exhibition organizer and writer. He studied painting briefly in 1883, at the Akademie in Berlin, but he was dismissed after six months as 'untalented'. From 1883 to 1885 he trained with the painter Hermann Eschke (1823-1900) and from 1885 to 1887 with the Norwegian painter Hans Fredrik Gude. Gude had a decisive influence on the style of Leistikow's early works, as is especially clear in Leistikow's light coastal landscapes with figures. His most significant work from this period, however, is Brickworks near Eckernferde (1887; ex-Gem?ldegal. Neue Meister, Dresden). Leistikow's dismissal from the Akademie concentrated his attention on issues of artistic policy. When the German government decided not to send works for exhibition in the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, Leistikow himself organized the dispatch of works to Paris. In 1892, James Sant
(1820-1916) was a British painter specializing in portraits, and a member of the Royal Academy. Sant was born in Croydon and taught by John Varley and Augustus Wall Callcott. He lived to the age of 96 and produced an astonishing number of canvases for exhibition at the Academy, some 250 of them, from 1840 through 1904. He was elected to the RA in 1870, and in 1872 Sant was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary (official portraitist) to Queen Victoria and the royal family. Sant resigned from the RA in 1914 to "make room for younger men." His work can be found at the Tate Gallery.
His brother George Sant (1821 - 1877) was a landscape painter. His sister Sarah Sherwood Clarke (who married Frederick Clarke, Superintendent and later Secretary of the LWS Railway) was an artist of great talent, but all that remains of her work is a collection of 48 different views of Scotland from 1854; these were exhibited for the first time at the "Watercolours & Works on Paper Fair" in London in February 2010.