In the Garden 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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This delightful artwork could easily be from the career of Claude Monet, such is its use of colour and content. Actually it came from an American artist by the name of Mary Cassatt, someone who lived and working in France for much of her life and took on many elements of the Impressionist style.

We find a pretty young girl looking directly at her mother, whilst they are out in their garden. The mother is sat comfortably on a wooden chair and relaxed in the sunshine in her summer outfit. Her daughter wears a pink dress with white lining and a white brimmed hat with black stripe around the perimeter. She also has a pink bow in her hair which matches the same tone as her dress. They sit in the foreground of this painting, whilst behind them is a path that stretches across the horizontal and then curves round on the left hand side, leading through to a series of bushes which mark the boundaries of their property. Cassatt was herself from a highly privileged background and regularly painted women from a similar or slightly lower class, partly because they could afford to pay her for some of these artworks, but also because they would be people that she came across within her circle of friends. For many years her portraits of young children would be of offspring of friends and family, before she started to branch out and seek a greater acceptance within the wider art community.

One interesting element to Cassatt's use of young models is that she found that they would become easier to deal with if she used them several times. Their own familiarisation with her would then make it easier in future to respond to her requests regarding each sitting. This is one of the reasons why several children would appear in a number of her pieces, although she also had a clear preference for certain looks, normally involving blonde or auburn hair with fairly pale skin. This was in line with the traditions of the time and was considered by most as a symbol of beauty and innocence, and perhaps also class for those able to stay indoors more than the lower classes.

This painting can now be found in the Detroit Institute of Arts in the US, as part of an exciting and diverse collection that serves as an excellent introduction to the history of art, from the perspective of American and European culture. Cassatt herself fits perfectly between these two camps having coming from a proud American family, but spent most of her life living and working in France, as well as being part of one of the country's most important art movements, namely Impressionism. It is hard to summarise the DIA's collection because of the breadth of work that can be found here, covering a whole host of movements, styles, periods and nations. Some of the highlights that can be found here include the likes of the Detroit Industry murals by Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralist with strong political convictions and also a turbulent relationship with another very famous female artist, Frida Kahlo.

In the Garden in Detail Mary Cassatt