Arts Everyday Living: Mary Cassatt—A Homage to Her Mother

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Mary Cassatt’s portrayals of the relationship between mother and child are unrivaled.   However, the artist has also left to posterity portraits of her own mother, Katherine Kelso Johnston Cassatt who provided both support and inspiration for her talented daughter.  For according to Louisine Havemeyer, a close friend of Cassatt:

“Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Mary Cassatt’s mother would know at once that it was from her and her alone that Mary inherited her ability.  In my day Mrs. Cassatt was no longer young, but she was still powerfully intelligent, executive, and masterful, and yet with that sense of duty and tender sympathy she had transmitted to her daughter….”*  Louisine Havemeyer

So here is a mini-gallery in honor of an exceptional mother, starting with Katherine Cassatt done  in 1873, when she was in her late fifties,

Mary Cassatt, Katherine Johnston Cassatt, 1873, oil on panel, Private collection

Mary Cassatt, Katherine Johnston Cassatt, 1873, oil on panel, Private collection

 

to Cassatt’s best known interpretation, Reading le Figaro of 1877,

Cassatt, Reading le Figaro, 1877

to the poignant Mrs. R.S. Cassatt, created near the end of Katherine Cassatt’s life.

Mary Cassatt, Mrs. R.S. Cassatt, c. 1889, oil on canvas, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Mary Cassatt, Mrs. R.S. Cassatt, c. 1889, oil on canvas, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

*Quote of Louisine Havemeyer about Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) and her mother from Mary Cassatt by Nancy Hale, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1987.

To view Louisine Havemeyer and her daughter see our blog, Mary Cassatt and the Art of Friendship, March 8, 2012.

The above images are utilized solely for educational purposes.

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