12 of the Most Famous Paintings by Mary Cassatt

famous paintings by Mary Cassatt

These are the 12 most famous paintings by Mary Cassatt. American-born Mary Cassat (1844–1926) traveled to France for her artistic training and spent the majority of her life and career there. She was acknowledged for her talent by contemporaries such as Edgar Degas. Cassat became the only American artist to appear with the Impressionists in Paris. She was strongly drawn to people in domestic settings, particularly mothers and their children.

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878)

This is one of the most famous paintings by Mary Cassatt, a picture of a young girl lying on a blue armchair in a room with three similar chairs. She famously stares at the floor, completely ignorant of or unconcerned about the painting that is being painted of her. This painting portrays her loneliness and boredom in an adult environment. It was hardly radical in its style at the time. Edgar Degas made some alterations to the painting.

Young Mother Sewing (1900)

This painting depicts a small girl leaning on her mother’s knees, who appears to be sewing, while the girl stares at the viewer. The girl’s motherhood identity is still fully expressed here because the girl is right beside her mom, enjoying her presence. This painting depicts a mother’s love and affection for her child, even when she is busy. 

Portrait of the Artist (1878)

This is one of the two self-portraits known to have been painted by Cassatt, who was exhibiting with other artists in Paris at the time this composition was completed. Her posture and lack of eye contact with the viewer develop a strong feeling of disconnection; as if she was preoccupied with something more important.

The Mandolin Player (1872)

This painting depicts a young girl playing the mandolin, a musical instrument that is similar to a guitar, both of which belong to the lute family of instruments. “The Mandolin Player” was made in a realism style that displayed realistic, accurate, and unembellished pieces of contemporary life or nature while rejecting any type of visionary idealism. This is the first painting to be accepted into the Salon de Paris.

Lydia Seated in the Garden with a Dog in Her Lap (1880)

This is a painting of a woman named Lydia, sitting in a chair in her private garden with a dog on her lap. Her face is hidden, but the dog is visible. The love and affection between a woman and a dog are represented in this painting. It was created in the Impressionist style. 

Woman and Child Driving (1881)

This painting depicts Lydia Cassatt, the artist’s sister, driving the carriage, and Odile Fèvre, the painter Edgar Degas’ niece, sitting primly behind her, visiting the Bois de Boulogne, a large forested area in Paris’ western suburbs. This is one of the most famous paintings by Mary Cassatt, a great example of an impressionist painting, with a sketchy application of paint and poorly mixed colors, but still looking smooth.

The Caress (1902)

This is a painting of a mother and her two young children who are struggling to sit on a single chair. The mother appears distant because she is exhausted by the energy of her children, who do not appear to be willing to remain still. This painting depicts the mother and the children in a stressful manner.

Maternal Kiss (1896)

This is a painting of a mother holding her young daughter and giving her a kiss on her cheek. The girl seems to be at ease and unconcerned. This represents a strong bond of love and affection between a mother and her child. This painting was created in an Impressionist style.

Children Playing On The Beach (1884)

This is a painting of two young girls at the beach, who are engaged in their activities but are aware of each other’s presence. This picture, one of the famous paintings by Mary Cassatt, is a representation of two emotions that are intimately connected: affection and feelings. This painting evokes feelings of nostalgia with a detailed portrayal of common childhood scenes.

The Cup of Tea (1879)

This is a painting of Cassatt’s sister, Lydia, sitting on a couch and holding a cup of tea. It’s more of a genre painting than a portrait because it depicts a social tradition that Cassatt returned to several times in her work. Drinking tea in the afternoon was a social ritual for many upper-middle-class women.

Mary Cassatt Self-Portrait (1880)

This is Cassatt’s second self-portrait, in which she is staring at something in a position connected with concentration. Green strokes on the background imply wallpaper, and the splash of vibrant yellow evokes the sunlight that pours over the artist’s shoulders and casts her face into darkness. The bold strokes highlight color, mood, and motion while also celebrating quick touch and modern style.

The Child’s Bath (1893)

This is a painting of a mother or female caregiver showering a child. While washing the child’s feet, she grips the child tightly and protectively. This exemplifies the dignity of motherhood. The simplicity and clarity of Japanese design and the masterful use of blocks of color are displayed in this painting.

What famous paintings by Mary Cassatt do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.

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