Happy Birthday, Mary Cassatt!

Happy Birthday to our Friday Favorite, Pittsburgh’s own Mary Cassatt!

Born in Allegheny City (now the North Side), Cassatt became one of the leading figures in the Impressionist movement. Many of us are familiar with her paintings of women and children, but did you know that Cassatt was also an experimental printmaker?

Inspired by a Parisian exhibition of more than 700 Japanese woodcuts, Cassatt began a series of colored prints depicting the lives of modern urban women. Known as “The Ten,” these prints combined the techniques of drypoint, etching, aquatint, and hand-coloring with compositions reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints—incorporating elevated vantage points, strong diagonals, and flattened planes in their design. The series was groundbreaking. It was also labor intensive, with only eight or ten impressions produced by the artist and her printer, Modeste Leroy, in an entire day’s work.

A woodcut print depicts two woman seated on an omnibus. One woman is holding a cane and looking over her shoulder at the river and bridge outside the window. The other woman is holding a young child on her lap and looking down into the child’s face.
Mary Cassatt, In The Omnibus, 1890–1891, Carnegie Museum of Art
A woodcut print depicts one woman standing in front of a mirror wearing a striped dress and looking down over her shoulder at another woman, who is kneeling and adjusting the skirt of the striped dress.
Mary Cassatt, The Fitting, 1890–1891, Carnegie Museum of Art
A woodcut print depicts a woman kneeling next to a basin of water. She has one hand in the basin and the other arm wrapped around a squirming young child. 
Mary Cassatt, The Bath, 1890–1891, Carnegie Museum of Art

What artist or work of art would you like to see next? Let us know on social media or send us an email at questions@cmoa.org.