Mére Et Enfant

Mary Cassatt
Mére Et Enfant
c. 1902

An original Mary Cassatt Pastel .

c. 1902

Pastel and charcoal drawing on paper

Catalog: Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, Mary Cassatt: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oils, Pastels, Watercolors and Drawings, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1970, no. 398, p. 162 (ill.);

25 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

Sheet Size: 25 9/16 x 19 5/8 inches

Mary Cassatt’s pastels are recognized as one of the most important aspects of her oeuvre. Although she used pastel as a sketching tool from the first, after joining the Impressionist circle she began to produce major finished works in this medium. Pastel became increasingly popular in both Europe and the U.S. in the 1870’s and 1880’s, and Cassatt was one of the first to exploit the properties of pastel in conveying the vibrancy of “modern” life. As in oil, she tailored her application of the pastel pigment to fit her changing style: exuberant strokes and rich colors during her Impressionist phase gave way to a calmer, more monumental style as she matured. In the 1890’s she returned often to the study of pastel techniques of 18th century masters, particularly Maurice-Quentin de La Tour. In the late 1880’s Cassatt began to specialize in the mother-and-child theme. This specialization developed from her interest in the monumental figure and the depiction of modern life, as well as being influenced by late 19th century Symbolism. She soon became identified with the theme and continues to be considered one of its great interpreters.