This last page covers
Cassatt and Morisot depicting women in different activities and at
different stages of their life.
Woman and Child Driving 1881
painting, Mary Cassatt puts Lydia Cassatt, her sister, in the driver's
seat, while a male figure sits facing away, in the back. The woman driver has a determined look, knowing where she's
going, intent on her destination.
The little girl beside her, Degas' niece, leans forward and
holds on tight to the carriage while she stares on, dreamily, toward
their destination. Notice
that the women are highlighted by light whereas the man, in the background,
is hidden in the shadows cast by the forest.
perspective on women in control would be an unusual theme for the
Salon. In this regard, Cassatt rebels against
the traditional themes prized by the Academy.
Peasant hanging the Washing
chooses to paint a peasant hanging laundry. She wants to acknowledge that artists, too, might be doing
such a chore. The woman
portrayed is paying close attention to the task at hand rather than
gazing at the viewer.
are fresh, and depict the movement of the wind as it plays with the
laundry as well as the surrounding shrubbery.
is cleary not a mythological theme--hanging laundry is something that
this peasant woman probably practiced frequently.
With its emphasis on portraying the ordinary tasks of life
by ordinary people, Morisot demonstrates her allegiance to Impressionist
Catching Butterflies 1873
executes a plein air scene of Edma, Berthe's sister, and her family. This is a leisure
scene in a private garden. Edma holds a butterfly net and is protected
from the summer sun by her hat and shawl.
an academy painter, and her tutor, deemed this theme to be painted
in watercolor and suggested to Berthe that she study Correggio's work
at the Louvre twice a week for three hours.
oil palette shows the influence of Corot, however the treatment of
light flickering throughout the afternoon scene is typical of the
Impressionists. Her brushtrokes
are fluid within a fairly tight compositional structure.
artists would not deem a common leisure scene worthy of their time.
Portrait of Katherine
(Mrs Robert SimpsonCassatt) 1889
portrait is unusual because it shows an elderly woman, lost in
thought. This is Cassatt's mother. Generally at the Salon, portraits would
be made of young rich socialites, but seldom would we see an older
woman, head in hand, in an introspective mood. The other hand
holds on to a handkerchief, resting on her lap. Cassatt is not
afraid of showing, in detail, her mother's raised brows and her
lips pursed, in a way that is not idyllic.
She also portrayed her mother, that same year, using a
completely different technique: soft ground etching, the exact
mirror image of this pose. The etching shows Cassatt's interest
in Japanese prints.
We should note that Cassatt considered her aging mother
as a topic worthy of studying in various media.
is loosely painted, conveying softness to the portrait. Cassatt's
use of the mirror as background and a vase of flowers recurs throughout
portrayals of women created by women painters differ from the view
that male artists had of women at the time.