32¢ Mary Cassatt
Four Centuries of American Art
Issue Date: August 27, 1998
City: Santa Clara, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Mary Cassatt was one of the best American impressionists and one of the most outstanding women painters of the 19th century. She became particularly well known for her paintings of peaceful, loving moments shared by mothers and their young children.
Born in 1844 to a wealthy family in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Cassatt studied first at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, then for several years in Italy and France. She spent little of her life in America, and in 1866, settled in Paris. Although the artist would live the rest of her life in France, she never relinquished her American citizenship.
In 1877, Cassatt met Edgar Degas when he asked her to join an exhibit with other impressionists. She accepted, and Degas became her friend and mentor. The relationship between Cassatt and Degas has never been clearly defined, since she took care to destroy all their letters before her death.
Mary Cassatt painted scenes of people engaged in ordinary activities, like women drinking tea, reading, or writing letters. She visited the United States for the last time in 1908, and in 1914, was forced to stop painting due to her failing eyesight. She died in 1926 at Château de Beaufresne, France.