American painter and printmaker who worked mainly in Paris in the circle of the Impressionists (she was a friend particularly of Degas). She specialized in everyday life scenes, her favourite theme being a mother with her child or children. Her early paintings were thoroughly Impressionist in style, but from about 1890 her forms became more solid and firmly outlined. She was an outstanding pastellist and printmaker, her finest prints being in colour and in a combination of techniques (aquatint, drypoint, etching). Their bold flattened forms and unconventional viewpoints were influenced by an exhibition of Japanese prints she saw in Paris in 1890. Cassatt's eyesight began to fail when she was in her fifties and she had virtually stopped working by 1914. She came from a wealthy family and had an important influence on American taste by urging her rich friends to buy Impressionist works. See also Feminist art.
G. Pollock, Mary Cassatt, Painter of Modern Women (1998)