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Introduction to the Exhibition: Degas/Cassatt

Kimberly A. Jones, associate curator, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Although Edgar Degas's influence upon Mary Cassatt has long been acknowledged, the extent to which Cassatt shaped Degas's artistic production and prepared the way for his warm reception by American audiences is fully examined for the first time in the exhibition Degas/Cassatt. To celebrate the exhibition opening on May 11, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art, Kimberly A. Jones illustrates how the artists’ deep friendship was founded on mutual respect and admiration for each other's talents, despite differences of gender and nationality. These two major figures of the impressionist movement shared a keen observer's eye, as well as an openness to experimentation. With a focus on the critical period from the late 1870s through the mid-1880s when Degas and Cassatt were most closely allied, the exhibition brings together some 70 works in a variety of media to examine the fascinating artistic dialogue that developed between the two. Degas/Cassatt is on view through October 5, 2014.