Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Front Seats"

9 x 14"
oil on panel

A new painting for the upcoming show at Robert Lange Studios - a woman viewing Mary Cassatt's Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  I framed the print of this painting many, many times in my years as a framer and I can attest that seeing it in person is so much more impressive - largely due to the vivid blue-aquas of the overstuffed chairs.  Most don't even notice the little dog napping on the chair on the left seat until they see it in the museum.

Mary Cassatt painted Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in 1878 - it was said to be a radically new image of childhood.  The girl was a daughter of a friend of Edgar Degas, who was a major influence on Cassatt.  Both artists were similar in their upbringing, both had strong ties to America and both painted strikingly similar works of art.

Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania in 1844.  She studied early on at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, grew tired of the male dominance of instructors and students and moved to Paris at the age of 22.  She studied under Jean-Leon Gerome, returned to the U. S. for a short time, went back to Europe and blossomed as an artist in the years to come.

In 1879, Cassatt showed eleven works in the highly-seen Impressionist exhibit and finally experienced recognition and success.  The 1890's were her most prolific time, becoming a role model for young American artists, especially women artists.

In 1914, health issues and near-blindness forced her to stop painting.  She then took up the cause of women's suffrage and in 1915, showed eighteen works in an exhibition, raising money to support the women's movement.

Please click here for a larger view.

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