The Boating Party Mary Cassatt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Boating Party is an oil on canvas painting done between 1893 and 1894. The picture depicts bold composition revealing the influence of the flat, patterned surfaces, simple colors, and unique angles of Japanese prints.

A dark figure of a man puts the paint onto a flat plane of the canvas, while the horizon is compressed at the top, indicating a sense of distance. The Boating Party depicts an unknown woman holding a baby as the sailboat male figure. The inside of the boat has a rich yellow color, and the boat itself is a boomless and has three thwarts. The angle between the oar and the arm of the powerful dark boatman thrusts powerfully into the center of the composition of the paint, towards the delicate feminine ones of the mother and the child. The source of lighting is the natural sunlight since the paint is done in an open environment, the ocean.

It was Mary's mother, Katherine Cassatt who had a profound influence on her. She was well educated and had a strong personality. Another factor that contributed Mary to join the painting world was her love for traveling. It was her first experience with French artists and also when she met Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro both who would later become great colleagues and teachers. She also had the privilege to study under the supervision of Jean Leon Gerome, who was then regarded highly for his hyper-realistic techniques and depiction of exotic subjects. Her skills were also influenced by Charles J. Chaplin, whom Mary joined her class in genre artistry. From the year 1890 onwards, Mary became diplomatic and more considerate in her statements.

She, therefore, became a role model for many young American artists who went for her guidance, including Lucy A. Bacon, whom she introduced to Camille Pisarro. Her legacy includes encouraging many Canadian female artists who had a membership to the Beaver Hall group. Her painting, The Boating Party, was used on the US postage stamp and was later honored by the United States Postal Service. Her paintings, Young Mother 1888, Children Playing on the Beach 1884, On a Balcony 1878|79 and Child in a Straw Hat 1886 were reproduced on the third issue in the American Treasures Stamp Series. Among works by Mary Cassatt include a portrait of Madame Sisley 1873, The Reader 1877, In the Box 1879, Lydia Leaning on Her Arms, Seated in Loge 1879, and Miss Mary Ellison of 1880 among many others.