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This pastel drawing by Mary Cassatt was completed in around 1901-1902 and features a young girl by the name of Simone alongside her mother. The artist would re-use this girl several times for a number of paintings and pastel drawings.
This was an artist who became most famous for her depictions of mother and child, attempting to capture that critical bond in a visual manner. She would re-use her favourite models several times and also liked to help out some families who were not financially secure. Simone is the name of the young girl who sits to the right of this drawing, dressed in a simple white dress, with a cream coloured hat and black bow on her head. She has blond hair down to her shoulders, with plump red cheeks. Her mother looks directly at her, but with relatively hazy detail which makes it hard to pick out quite what her expression is. She wears a brown dress that has a black lining around the chest, and has little or not makeup on. Her hair is smartly presented, but without any sense of glamour. Behind them is a series of green tones with touches of bright colour to signify a garden or park setting.
The artist herself would then sign the piece in the bottom right corner, which one can make out even from the small image supplied here. Some of the lower half of the drawing is not completed, and left with lines of dark colour which signify the extension of the mother's body, as well as the direction that her right arm would continue in. Cassatt often chose not to complete every single part of a composition when working in pastel, concentrating on the key parts as she saw it, which would normally be the upper halfs of the bodies and the facial features. The lower part of the girl's dress is also fairly loosely done, suggesting it was quickly completed to free up time for the more important areas. The artist loved scenes such as this and would place mother and child within different environments for a variety of atmospheres, both indoors and outdoors.
This item has come up for sale at auction on several occasions and has received estimated valuations of up to $500,000, which is a substantial amount for a work in pastel. There are several reasons for this high price, including how large the artwork is - 71.8 cm tall by 60.3 cm wide which makes it unusually large for a drawing, as most are completed within smaller sketchbooks for convenience. This piece is also framed and is presented very much as an independent artwork in its own right, rather than as a study piece for a later painting. Additionally, it is signed in the bottom right and has also been included in recent catalogue raisonnes of the artist's work which both provide an important authenticity which gives potential bidders extra confidence. The model appears again in an oil painting named Simone in a Blue Plumed Hat.