Skip to main content

Mary Cassatt and Philadelphia

February 17–April 14, 1985

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was the only American ever invited to exhibit with the French Impressionists. Although the artist settled permanently in Paris, she considered herself a citizen of Philadelphia, where she had studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and where her brothers lived. Between 1873 and 1927, her works were shown in over 40 exhibitions in the city and many entered local collections, including her family's. This exhibition assembles 50 of the freshest, most direct, and beautiful paintings, pastels, and prints from Philadelphia public and private collections, to be shown concurrently with the exhibitions devoted to her close friend and mentor, Edgar Degas. Like Degas, Cassatt intentionally limited herself to certain familiar subjects from modern everyday life. Cassatt concentrated on domestic scenes of mother and child, women at their toilet, family groups, and women at the theater, often using her own family as models. The bright coloring and vigorous brushwork of her paintings, and her spontaneous and lively handling of pastels, soon won the admiration of her peers. Her most original and important graphic work captures the simplicity and refinement of Japanese prints. This exhibition confirms Cassatt's important artistic achievements and also examines her role in encouraging Philadelphians to acquire Impressionist paintings at a time when critical disparagement was widespread.

Main Building


The exhibition is supported by grants from Mellon Bank, theBohen Foundation, and The Pew Memorial Trust.


Suzanne Lindsay
Joseph J. Rishel

Check out other exhibitions

View full calendar