Celebrating Mother’s Day at Home with Mary Cassatt

“There’s only one thing in life for a woman; it’s to be a mother… A woman artist must be… capable of making primary sacrifices.”

Mary Cassatt

“It changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it.”

Mary Cassatt

In this time of solitude, we are celebrating Mother’s Day from a distance via technology, social media or waving through a window. Location and distance are merely constructs and not insurmountable barriers.

To commemorate this unforgettable time and to recognize we are together in spirit, ChasingART’s new series, Houses & Homes, is a reflection of our current reality of social distancing, working and studying from home, and self isolation.

Lilacs in a Window 1880 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Public Domain)

Today, Mary Cassatt has joined us for Mother’s Day, which came to me this morning when I turned over my art calendar to reveal Mary Cassatt’s pastel on brown paper, “A Goodnight Hug”. Mary Cassatt embodied a mother’s love of her child in a simple gesture of protection, acceptance and joy. When I view her paintings, I am reminded of home, of family and doing the things we love to do at home – reading, teatime, crafts, being together.

Mary Cassatt was known as one of “les trois grandes dames (the three great ladies) of Impressionism.” That was the description given by Gustave Geoffrey, French journalist, art critic, historian and novelist known for being one of the earliest historians of the Impressionist art movement. The other two were Marie Bracquemond and Berthe Morisot.

Mary Cassatt lived life on her terms, a brilliant outlier that persevered despite the lack of support from her father and society’s view of woman artists. She was relentless in her desire to create art. Her legacy continues to inspire

Tea by Mary Cassatt 1880 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Public Domain)

Reading “Le Figaro” by Mary Cassatt (1878), Collection Mrs. Eric de Spoelberch, Haverford, Pennsylvania

Young Woman Sewing 1870 Met Museum (Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

Check out Google Arts & Culture for more information about Mary Cassatt

“I have touched with a sense of art some people – they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?”

Mary Cassatt

20 Comments »

  1. Fabulous post, Rebecca.
    I adore the way you use special days, events, times, occasions etc. to team up with arts and artists.
    It’s a wonderful thing, and I get to see fab art and learn about the artists. Thank you!!!

    • We must continue to support and encourage creative efforts. I just read that the UN agency warns the Covid19 pandemic could force closure of 1 i 8 museums (including art galleries) worldwide. This is a tragic consequence. Thank you for your remarkable commitment to our artists – they are precious and are the heart of our society.

      • Oh my! galleries & museums closed.
        This Covid Virus has really pis#@d me off.
        “Serenity now!”
        I wonder if/when my industry will ever get back to being able to work.
        Film sets are perfect places for the virus to spread! So, everyone wears a mask? That will look good on actors.

  2. I too have always admired her art, such warmth and tenderness in her portrayals. I appreciated her even more after reading the novel, I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira, about her relationship with Edgar Degas. Years ago my daughters gifted me with Art of Motherhood by Susan Bracaglia Tobey which generously featured themes related to motherhood, painted by both men and women, and I treasure it to this day. One of my favorites of hers is Maternal Kiss. I never saw some of these works you so generously posted here, so thank you! Young Woman Sewing is of course my new favorite 🙂

  3. Thank you! ! Our Art Calendar offers so much beauty and joy. Another wonderful example of wonderful art. Thank you for including some of her life’s story, it was not easy for women in the Art World, even family members did not encourage often. But, she loved her craft, and the pieces you have included are really lovely, Her courage should encourage us to do the things we love—such a your love for writing. Thank you for the pieces, flowers, children, a mother loving her baby. A treat for me on a Monday morning! !

    • I love our Art Calendar. Did you have a chance to look at the one for today, May 11th? It is “Horse in the Landscape” by Franz Marc completed in 1910. A perfect way to begin our week. It is difficult to understand, from our perspective, that women had to overcome many barriers, including family opinion of what was proper, to follow a creative path. It is a reminder to me that I must be open to possibilities. The world continues to evolve in ways that has unforeseen outcomes. We may want certainty, but humanity, throughout the centuries, has always been the best when confronted with ambiguity. We stretch our minds, which is always a good thing.

      • Yes, I did see the horse and loved it. I almost took a picture of it and thought of putting it on Family Adventures and Nebraska Adventures but decided not to. Maybe I should of. I just looked at it again, I really enjoyed it. I love my Art Calendar! ! !

  4. What a beautiful artist Cassatt is. I have been enjoying that first image all weekend on our calendar. When I turned the page, I thought how clever of the curators to pick it for Mother’s Day weekend around the world (although ours was 22/3, but hey – mothers deserve at least two celebrations!). And your choice of her other works is perfect. I love those lilacs. Hugs to you and the boys! X

    • I am delighted that we are sharing the Art Calendar together. When I turn over the page, I think of you. How did you like May 11th painting by Franz Marc “Horse in the Landscape”. What gives me a thrill is to know who the artist is before I look at the title and small print at the top. The Art Calendar is a patient and valuable teacher. The boys send their love back with mine. By the way, the new schedule for our trip is underway. The Caledonia Sleeper in on the agenda!!!

      • The Marc was amazing – that yellow! And how about today’s On The Beach – imagine wearing that red outfit across the sands!!

        So pleased you are making new travel plans. The sleeper will be such an adventure! xxx

  5. I admire Mary Cassatt’s work, Rebecca. Thank you for this excellent, informative post about her. So challenging to have been an accepted female painter then — and still not easy today.

    • I have been thinking about the idea of what does it take to be true to oneself. I agree – Mary Cassatt’s life was not for the faint of heart. This is something that I would like to discuss on our next podcast conversation, Dave. Stay tune – the questions will be coming your way soon. Thank you in advance!!

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