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Biography of Mary Cassatt
Coming from a comfortable milieu, Mary Stevenson Cassat, painter-engraver, was born in 1843 in Allegheny (Pennsylvania-USA). During her childhood, she frequently travels to Europe with her family and they live in Paris in 1851, then in Germany from 1853 to 1855. The young lady learns french and german languages; with her mother, enthusiastic about culture, she visits many european museums. After being back for about ten years to her native country, she returns to Paris in 1866, where she takes courses at Jean-Leon Gérôme studio´s. During franco-prussian war (1870-1871), she comes back to Pennsylvania then returns to Europe, travels to Itally and Spain before settling for the long in Paris, in 1873. The young woman, influenced by Manet, paints regularly. Mary Cassat exhibits at the 1872 and 1874 salons but she is not accepted in 1875 and 1877. Edgar Degas, attracted by this distinguished young lady´s ease, uses her as a casual model and at the same time, introduces her in the world of the impressionists. She will exhibit at several shows of this group. Because of her influence - and John Singer Sargent one’s, an other american artist - impressionism is spreading in the USA. As many other painters, Mary is influenced by japanese prints. In 1886, art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel organizes in New-York a huge impressionist exhibition which sets in this pictorial current. In 1891, Mary Cassat shows her first personal exhibition at Durant-Ruel’s in Paris. Three years later, she acquires the Chateau de Beaufresne at Mesnil-Theribus, department of Oise. Mary Cassat’s art work consists in interiors, close relatives portraits, childhood and motherhood scenes. Until 1912, Mary Cassat keeps travelling through Europe and USA. In 1914, she will have serious health problems, becoming blind, and she has to give up painting. She passes away in 1926 at Mesnil-Theribus, where she’ll be buried.