Arts Everyday Living: Happy Mother’s Day–With Love from Mary Cassatt!






American Impressionist Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) is the perfect artist to celebrate motherhood and the yearly celebration of Mother’s Day. Few painters can rival her portrayals of the maternal bond, particularly the love between mother and child.

Yet, notice too the uniqueness of each work.  The overall composition and the way the figures interact with each other.  Sometimes we know the child’s name—Thomas or Bill—while other times, his or her identity remains anonymous.

Note also the variety of the colors and patterns Cassatt utilizes: from warm rose to a combination of blue and gray; bright orange or pure white; bold stripes and decorative backgrounds.  Although skilled in oil, Cassatt worked in pastel as well (often considered her favorite medium).


Mary Cassatt, Mother and Her Child, 1890, oil on canvas, Wichita Museum of Art, Wichita, KS

Life begins with waking up and loving my mother’s face.

George Eliot (1819-1880)


Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, 1889, oil on canvas, Private Collection

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)


Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath, 1893, oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Mother’s love is peace.  It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980)


Mary Cassatt, Woman in a Red Bodice and Her Child, c. 1896-1906, oil on canvas, Private Collection?

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


Mary Cassatt, Baby Bill in a Cap and Shift, 1890, pastel,  Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattaoogna, Tennessee

A mother understands what a child does not say.

Jewish Proverb


Mary Cassatt, Mother Combing Her Child’s Hair, c. 1901, pastel on graph paper, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York

A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.

Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)


Mary Cassatt, Young Thomas and His Mother, 1893, pastel, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Motherhood: all love begins and ends there.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)





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