Bill Lying on His Mother's Lap

Mary Cassatt American

Not on view

Cassatt’s serial treatment of mothers and children emerged first in her graphic works during a period in which she experimented intensely with printmaking techniques. Here, the blurred quality of the lines results from the use of soft-ground etching and the murky, aqueous background from liquid aquatint. During her lifetime, critics appreciated her unsentimental approach to the maternal subject. In this image, baby Bill appears sprawled across his caregiver’s lap in an ungainly posture. Other prints show Bill with a nurse or nanny, raising questions about the identity of the so-called mother figure seen here.

Bill Lying on His Mother's Lap, Mary Cassatt (American, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1844–1926 Le Mesnil-Théribus, Oise), Soft-ground etching and aquatint; fourth state of five

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