Mary Cassatt (artist)|
American, 1844 - 1926
Portrait of an Elderly Lady, c. 1887
oil on canvas
overall: 72.9 x 60.3 cm (28 11/16 x 23 3/4 in.) framed: 100.3 x 84.1 cm (39 1/2 x 33 1/8 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
Object 7 of 10
(Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, "Vente-Collection Mlle. X," 30 March 1927, no. 63, as Etude de femme âgée: chapeau à fleur rose); purchased by Chester Dale [1883-1962]; bequest 1963 to NGA.
 Mlle. X was probably Mathilde Valet, Cassatt's housekeeper. According to an undated note in NGA curatorial files, on the Durand-Ruel copy of the sale catalogue, the name "Mathilde" was handwritten after the "Mademoiselle X" title. The note states that Mathilde Valet served as Mary Cassatt's housekeeper, maid and companion. According to the same note, Adelyn Breeskin, Curator of Contemporary Art for the National Collection of Fine Arts, told David Rust that Mary Cassatt left her atelier to her housekeeper, Mathilde Valet, who sold it a year later at auction. Per 4 June 1964 letter in NGA curatorial files from Cassatt's neice, Ellen Mary Hare of Radnor, Pennsylvania (sent in reply to 1 June 1964 letter from David Rust inquiring about the portrait's sitter), Mrs. Hare confirms the relationship between Cassatt and Valet.
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