(b. 1844, Allegheny City, d. 1926, Le Mesnil-Théribus, Oise)


American painter and printmaker, active in France, the leading American artist of the Impressionist school. She was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Her family lived in France from 1851 to 1853 and in Germany from 1853 to 1855. When Mary Cassatt's oldest brother, Robbie, died, the family returned to Philadelphia.

She studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia in 1861 to 1865, which was among the few such schools open to female students. In 1866 Mary Cassatt began European travels, finally settling in Paris. She exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1872, 1873, and 1874.

Cassatt met Edgar Degas with whom she had a close friendship. In 1877 she joined the Impressionist group and in 1879 she began exhibiting with them at the invitation of Degas.

Her work was frequently characterized by depictions of women in ordinary tasks, and especially with children. Though she never married or had children of her own, she enjoyed visits from her American nieces and nephews. She is most famous for works with the subject of mother and child. She is known for superior draughtsmanship in all the media, notably pastel.

After 1900 her eyesight began to fail, and by 1914 she was no longer able to paint.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.