Mother Playing with Child

Artist: Mary Cassatt (American, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1844–1926 Le Mesnil-Théribus, Oise)

Date: ca. 1897

Medium: Pastel on wove paper, mounted on cardboard

Dimensions: 25 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. (64.8 x 80 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: From the Collection of James Stillman, Gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, 1922

Accession Number: 22.16.23


Cassatt applied pastel in thick strokes and blended it into a very fine texture and sometimes into the paper itself, as did Edgar Degas. Her repetition of a particular subject—women with children—also may have been inspired by Degas, who reiterated themes, such as ballerinas and bathing women, in accordance with his credo: "It is essential to do the same subject over again, ten times, a hundred times. Nothing in art must seem to be chance, but even movement." Cassatt used this pastel as the basis for the last of her major prints, Picking Daisies in a Field (ca. 1896–97), which remained unfinished.