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Portrait of a Young Woman
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844 - 1926)
circa 1898. Oil on canvas, 16 15/16 x 22 5/8". 2002.020
Mary Cassatt was the only American ever invited to participate in the groundbreaking French Impressionist exhibitions in Paris. A proégé of Degas, from whom she learned important pastel techniques, Cassatt lived in Paris most of her adult life, with occasional visits to her hometown of Philadelphia. She exhibited widely on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming best known for her tender but unsentimental images of mothers and their children. This pastel on paper depicts an unidentified model who appears in a number of works created by Cassatt around 1898. Cassatt has portrayed the woman reading, her pose thoughtful, her hand resting lightly on her cheek, her gaze downward.