Artist: Mary Cassatt (American, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1844–1926 Le Mesnil-Théribus, Oise)
Date: ca. 1899
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 1/2 x 29 in. (92.7 x 73.7 cm)
Credit Line: George A. Hearn Fund, 1909
Accession Number: 09.27
This painting focuses on the bond between mother and child, which became Cassatt’s specialty after about 1890. The artist translated the popular Impressionist subject of adult female bathers into genteel maternal terms: instead of washing herself, a beautifully dressed woman washes her child. The blond, blue-eyed toddler is said to have been a boy named Jules, one of Cassatt’s frequent models. The canvas, with its rich color and unconventional treatment of space, was the first by Cassatt to enter the Metropolitan’s collection.