National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Gathering Fruit Mary Cassatt (artist)
American, 1844 - 1926
Gathering Fruit, c. 1893
drypoint and aquatint in color
plate: 42 x 29.8 cm (16 9/16 x 11 3/4 in.) sheet: 47.9 x 39 cm (18 7/8 x 15 3/8 in.)
Mathews and Shapiro 1989, no. 15, State xi/xi
Rosenwald Collection
1943.3.2757
Not on View
From the Tour: Mary Cassatt — Selected Color Prints
Object 12 of 12

In 1888 Mary Cassatt was commissioned to create a mural depicting modern women for the Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Cassatt intended the mural to represent the progress of women into the modern age. Unlike her earlier series of color prints, Gathering Fruit, based on the central panel of that mural, was made to bring the image and its message to a wider audience than those who saw the work in Chicago.

The act of plucking the fruit suggests women's opportunities in the modern world to harvest from the tree of knowledge. This was an important element in depicting the role of modern women, who, in the late nineteenth century, were able to enjoy for the first time many new opportunities for formal education. In sharing the fruit with the baby, the woman symbolically passes knowledge from one generation to another.

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