National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Mother and Child Mary Cassatt (artist)
American, 1844 - 1926
Mother and Child, c. 1905
oil on canvas
overall: 92.1 x 73.7 cm (36 1/4 x 29 in.) framed: 114.3 x 95.2 cm (45 x 37 1/2 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
1963.10.98
Not on View
From the Tour: Mary Cassatt — Selected Paintings
Object 10 of 10

Mother and Child represents a theme that Mary Cassatt often painted throughout her career as an artist. Creating complex, impressionistic lighting effects, a floor mirror reflects the scene in a hazy, indistinct manner.

The models for Mother and Child may have been neighbors of Cassatt's near her country home outside of Paris. She often asked local women to sit for her, feeling that professional models posed self-consciously. For the sittings, Cassatt tended to dress the women in gowns she had bought from well-known Paris clothiers. As in most of her paintings, Cassatt does not glamorize or sentimentalize her subjects; instead she presents them as wholesome, attractive individuals.

When Cassatt painted Mother and Child she was at the height of her artistic success. She drew on her many years of experience, working with ease and assurance. She captured the varying effects of light: pure strokes of green and gold suggest the sun flooding the artist's studio on a summer day, and glistening touches of pale yellow highlight hair, dress, and furniture.

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