Mary Cassatt
c. 1904

An original Mary Cassatt lithograph print.

c. 1904

Original lithograph printed in black ink on laid paper bearing the “MBM (FRANCE) Ingres d’Arches” watermark, and the “MBM” countermark

Signed on the stone lower right Mary Cassatt.  A superb, richly printed impression of the only state of this scarce lithograph, from the edition of unrecorded size, most probably printed with the assistance and at the studio of Auguste Clot, Paris. 

Catalog: Breeskin 198 only state.

20 x 16 7/16 inches

Sheet Size: 24 5/8 x 18 7/8 inches

This very large study is one of only two experiments undertaken by Mary Cassatt in the medium of lithography.  It is closely related to a pastel of Sara in the same pose currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York (Breeskin 454).  The handling of the lithographic crayon, with a combination of pointwork and shading with the flat edge, is very similar in feeling to the artist’s drawings.  The lithograph was almost certainly printed at the studio of Auguste Clot.  It is not known whether it was commissioned by Ambroise Vollard or done at the suggestion of Clot, but it seems possible that if drawn with the encouragement of Vollard that it may have been intended for the third L’Album des peintres-graveurs which was abandoned by Vollard before completion.  The edition size is not precisely known but certainly does not appear to have been large.  Impressions of this lithograph are quite rare today. 
Attesting to the beauty and importance of this fine lithograph, examples can be found in the following institutional collections: New York Public Library; Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Michigan; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Studies of children, or of mothers and their children, formed the central inspiration of Cassatt’s art.  She was very much a female artist and yet at the same time her approach was the essence of Impressionism.  She echoed Degas’ emphasis on the need to find subjects which reflected "real modern life".  Thus, her drawings of young girls are never romantic in concept, they show actual children in everyday poses.  Above all she was able through her marvelous draftsmanship to capture all the momentary emotions in their faces and create an almost tangible sense of communication between viewer and subject.