Early morning AGO trip leads to William Kurelek, blue summer skies and empty fields. Makes me strangely nostalgia for chatham-kent.
I’m learning about the struggle of female artists in 19th century Paris in that it was deemed indecent for them to go anywhere alone in public. A woman named Marie Bashkirtseff wrote in her diary how she could never truly indulge in going to museums or galleries because she had to go with a collection of relatives or accompaniments.
But then there’s Mary Cassatt.
Cassatt was an American Ex-Pat that moved to Paris to be an artist. She was single and from a wealthy family which provided her the means to live well, so she saw no need to take a husband (and, incidentally, become a mother). Therefore, she was already such an oddity around Paris that she didn’t seem to give two shits about conforming to any other standards of an upper-class woman at the time and would go wherever she wanted by herself.
This woman clearly displays a high level of awesome, but the best part is that she was friends with Degas, who admired her skills as an artist, and Degas was kind enough to make a work titled “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre”:
That’s her in the brown with her back to us.
Just LOOK at the unadulterated swagger of that woman. Marie Bashkirtseff is talking about the unfairness that she, as a bourgeoisie woman, couldn’t wander the galleries of the Louvre at her own enjoyment, and Mary Cassatt is shown here being like “Fuck that. I’m rich and single and I’ll do whatever I damn well want.”
What’s your ideal night on the town? For this young woman, it’s the Paris Opera. Uncover the story behind this painting by Mary Cassatt during our Spotlight Gallery Conversation this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
”Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge,” 1879, by Mary Cassatt
Olga Boznańska, Girl with Chrysanthemums, 1894.
Blackman Street, London by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1885.
Shipping on the Clyde by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881.