National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Mother's Kiss Mary Cassatt (artist)
American, 1844 - 1926
Mother's Kiss, 1890-1891
drypoint and aquatint on laid paper
plate: 34.6 x 22.7 cm (13 5/8 x 8 15/16 in.) sheet: 43.3 x 30.1 cm (17 1/16 x 11 7/8 in.)
Mathews and Shapiro 1989, no. 11, State v/v
Chester Dale Collection
1963.10.254
Not on View
From the Tour: Mary Cassatt — Selected Color Prints
Object 8 of 12

The theme of mothers and children pervades much of Mary Cassatt's work. Although she herself never married, she often spent time with friends and family members and their children and represented them in drawings, prints, and paintings.

Mother's Kiss depicts a moment of tenderness between a mother and her baby. Children move quickly and Cassatt developed the ability to capture a pose rapidly, rendering her figures with only a few expressive strokes. Here, Cassatt faithfully delineates the baby's rounded belly and chubby legs in simple, graceful outlines. At any moment, it seems, the child will squirm from his mother's tenuous embrace and the pose will be lost. This slight awkwardness between the two figures denies the sentimentality present in so many works of art that deal with themes of motherhood. Because the figures are not smiling and perfectly posed, they seem more true to our everyday experience.

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