Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)
Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper
23 5/8 x 16 13/16 in. (60.1 x 41.2 cm)
Bequest of Edith H. Proskauer, 1975 (1975.319.1)
Cassatt painted this self-portrait, one of only two known, a year after Edgar Degas invited her to exhibit with the Impressionists. His influence is reflected in the unusual sage-green background, the attention to contrasting complementary colors, and the figure's daring asymmetrical pose and indifference to the viewer. Louisine Elder (later Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer), a young American Cassatt met in Paris in 1874, acquired this self-portrait from the artist by 1879 and lent it to the thirteenth annual exhibition of the American Watercolor Society in New York in February 1880.