National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Bath Mary Cassatt (artist)
American, 1844 - 1926
The Bath, 1890-1891
drypoint and aquatint on laid paper
plate: 32.1 x 24.8 cm (12 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.) sheet: 43.7 x 30.5 cm (17 3/16 x 12 in.)
Mathews and Shapiro 1989, no. 5, State xvii/xvii
Chester Dale Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: Mary Cassatt — Selected Color Prints
Object 2 of 12

In April 1890, an exhibition of Japanese woodcuts at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris inspired Mary Cassatt to begin experimenting with different print techniques. Using aquatint, drypoint, etching, and hand-coloring, Cassatt attempted to capture the flat planes and simple lines of Japanese woodcuts. After painstakingly overseeing the execution of each print, Cassatt exhibited the resulting series of ten at the Durand Ruel Gallery in Paris the next year. Together, the prints combine the spare beauty of Japanese woodcut designs with innovative color patterns and finely tuned drawing.

The Bath was Cassatt's first effort in the series, and the only one, according to her, in which she truly tried to imitate Japanese design. She produced seventeen different states for The Bath, more than for any other print in the series. The subject, a mother and child, is a favorite of Cassatt's, and in the series as a whole, she opens a window on women's private lives in the nineteenth century.

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