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 :. | Child in a Straw Hat | Young Girl at a Window | Gathering Fruit | Margot in Blue | The gril wearing the strawhat |
Related Artists:Leopold Carl Muller
born 1834 - died 1892William Fettes Douglas
painted Artist in 1845Quentin Massys
Quentin Massys Galleries
Quentin Matsys, his first name also recorded as Quinten or Kwinten and his last name as Massys, Metsys, or Matsijs (1466 - 1530), was a painter in the Flemish tradition and a founder of the Antwerp school. He was born at Leuven, where he was trained as an ironsmith. Near the front of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp is a wrought-iron well, known as the "Matsys Well," which according to tradition was made by the painter-to-be.
During the greater part of the 15th century, the centres in which the painters of the Low Countries most congregated were Tournai, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. Leuven gained prominence toward the close of this period, employing workmen from all of the crafts. Not until the beginning of the 16th century did Antwerp take the lead which it afterward maintained against Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Mechelen and Leuven. Matsys, as a member of Antwerp's Guild of Saint Luke, was one of its first notable artists.
A legend relates how Matsys, while a smith in Leuven, fell in love with the daughter of a painter; by changing his trade to painting, he hoped that she would love him in return. Less poetic but perhaps more likely is another version of the story: Quentin's father, Josse Matsys, was clockmaker and architect to the municipality of Leuven. The question arose as to which of his sons, Quentin or Josse, should follow in this lucrative business. Josse the son elected to succeed the father. Quentin then took up the study of painting.
We are not told expressly by whom Matsys was taught, but his style seems to have derived from the lessons of Dirk Bouts, who brought to Leuven the influence of Memling and van der Weyden. When Matsys settled at Antwerp at the age of twenty-five, his own style contributed importantly to reviving Flemish art along the lines of van Eyck and van der Weyden.
What characterizes Matsys in particular is a strong religious feeling, an inheritance from earlier schools. This feeling was permeated by a realism which often favored the grotesque. The faces of the boors of Steen or Ostade may well have had predecessors in the pictures of Matsys, though he was not inclined to use them in the same homely way. From the example of van der Weyden comes Matsys' firmness of outline, clear modelling and thorough finish of detail; from the van Eycks and Memling by way of Dirck Bouts, the glowing richness of transparent pigments.
The date of his departure from Leuven is 1491, when he became a master in the guild of painters at Antwerp. His most celebrated picture was executed in 1508 for the joiners' company in the cathedral of his adopted city. Next in importance is the Marys of Scripture round the Virgin and Child, ordered for a chapel in the cathedral of Leuven. Both altarpieces are now in public museums, one at Antwerp and the other at Brussels. They display an earnestness in expression, a minuteness of rendering, and subdued effects of light or shade. Matsys, like the early Flemish painters, lavishes care on jewelry, edgings of garments, and ornament in general.
The Moneylender and his Wife (1514)
Oil on panel, 71 x 68 cm Mus??e du Louvre, ParisNot much given to atmosphere, his paintings sometimes rely on the literalness of caricature: emphasizing the melancholy refinement of saints, the brutal gestures and grimaces of gaolers and executioners. Strenuous effort is devoted to the expression of individual character. A satirical tendency may be seen in the pictures of merchant bankers (Louvre and Windsor), revealing their greed and avarice. His other impulse, dwelling on the feelings of tenderness, may be noted in two replicas of the Virgin and Child at Berlin and Amsterdam, where the ecstatic kiss of the mother seems rather awkward. An expression of acute despair may be seen in a Lucretia in the museum at Vienna. The remarkable glow of the colour in these works, however, makes the Mannerist exaggerations palatable.
But on the whole, the best pictures of Matsys are the quietest. His Virgin and Christ, Ecce Homo and Mater Dolorosa (London and Antwerp) display a serene and dignified mastery, gaining in delicacy and nuance in the works of his maturity. It is believed that he may have known the work of Leonardo da Vinci in the form of prints made and circulated among northern artists.
Matsys had considerable skill as a portrait painter. His Ægidius (Peter Gilles) which drew from Thomas More a eulogy in Latin verse, is but one of many, to which one may add the portrait of Maximilian of Austria in the gallery of Amsterdam. In this branch of his practice, Matsys was greatly influenced by his contemporaries Lucas van Leyden and Jan Mabuse.
In his rendering of polished detail, he may lack the subtle modelling of Holbein and D??rer. There is reason, however, to think him well acquainted with these German masters. He probably met Holbein more than once on his way to England. D??rer visited his house at Antwerp in 1520. Matsys also became the guardian of Joachim Patinir's children after the death of that painter, who is believed to have worked on some of the landscapes in Matsys' pictures.
Matsys died at Antwerp in 1530. That rigor of religious feeling, which could be said to have slumbered in him, was eventually fatal to some of his relatives. His sister Catherine and her husband suffered at Leuven in 1543 for what was then the capital offence of reading the Bible: he being decapitated, she buried alive in the square before the cathedral.
His works include A Portrait of an Elderly Man (1513), The Money Changer and His Wife (1514), and The Ugly Duchess (1515).
The Ugly Duchess is perhaps the best-known of his works. It served as a basis for John Tenniel's depiction of the Duchess in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is likely a depiction of a real person with Paget's disease, though it is sometimes said to be a portrait of Margaret, countess of Tyrol, also known as Margarete Maultasch ("Satchel-mouth").
Quentin's son, Jan Matsys, inherited the art but not the skill of his father. The earliest of his works, a St Jerome dated 1537, in the gallery of Vienna, as well as the latest, a Healing of Tobias of 1564, in the museum of Antwerp, are evidence of his tendency to substitute imitation for originality. Another son, Cornelis Matsys, was also a painter. Jan's son, Quentin Metsys the Younger, was an artist of the Tudor court, and painted the Seive Portrait of Elizabeth I of England.