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Mary Cassatt Biography


American printmaker and painter Mary Cassatt was born in 1844 in Pennsylvania, but most of her career took place in France, having spent time both in France and Germany with her family when she was young. She was renowned for being the only American artist to have exhibited in Paris with the Impressionists. Her family did not approve of her desire to be an artist, but regardless, at 15, she decided to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia to formally study painting. Her subject matter often featured the lives of women, and frequently the bond between a child and its mother.

Cassatt’s artistic skill was widely recognised by her contemporaries, including Edgar Degas, who later became her chief mentor. Cassatt travelled around studying art in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Holland, but finally settled in Paris in 1874, where she began to exhibit her work. In 1900, Cassatt’s failing eyesight negatively impacted her work and by 1904 she had stopped painting altogether. Cassatt in 1926 at her country home, Château de Beaufresne in Le Mesnil-Théribus, Oise. Her work has been the subject of postage stamps, string quartets, collectives of female artists and even a World War II liberty ship.

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