Arts Everyday Living: Happy 180th Birthday Mary Cassatt! A Week of Celebration of Her Art

Mary Cassatt, The Boating Party, 1893/1894, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


The Boating Party, 1893/1894

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)

This Wednesday, May 22, is Mary Cassatt’s 180th birthday. So we will be celebrating this week with her works of art starting with the popular The Boating Party above.


Just the three of them are together on this summer day, sharing a special outing on the Mediterranean Sea. No one to bother the trio as they move across the blue water, propelled by a combination of wind power and human prowess.  The figures themselves have never been identified–a mother with her baby and an unknown man. Are they a family unit? Or is he a local worker, paid to escort the vacationing pair?  Yet, do you notice the affectionate exchange between the tiny boy and his muscular companion? Perhaps an example of a child’s unquestioning love, in this case most likely directed towards his father.

The Boating Party by American Impressionist Mary Cassatt  is a striking, unforgettable work of art, now hanging at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., its vivid colors of  blue and green instantly attracting us as we enter the room.  Feeling almost as if we could occupy the same space with these late 19th century subjects, so life-like in spite of the distance of time.. Perhaps sitting either in the place of the female passenger or next to the rower strategically placed on the edge of the canvas, who with just one more pull of the oars and the creativity of  our own imaginations, could actually transport us out of the space of the painting.


To learn more about Mary Cassatt and view her paintings, click:







In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.







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