Young Mother Sewing 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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Young Mother Sewing is a painting done by Mary Cassatt back in 1900. It characterises a small girl leaning on the knees of her mother who seems to be knitting while the child glares at the viewer. They two are depicted to be sitting by the window which is right in front of them.

The mother is clad in a stripped dress with a green apron covering it while reflecting on the grass visible through the window. The metropolitan museum where the artwork is located points out that Mary made use of two unrelated models taking the form of the mother and her child who in this case is a daughter. This specific piece of artwork was conceptualised using canvas and oil paints. One of the windows is open and it illuminates light into the place.

The image looks realistic even with the minimal shading seen from the artwork. Mary made use of softer colours with textures seen from the dresses as well as the wood. In the background are a set of orange flowers contained in a vase and a slightly visible pitcher holding water distinctly placed behind the woman on the same surface that hold the flower vase. With all this, the mother seems to be keen with whatever she is sewing letting the young girl enjoy her presence.

The grass yard behind them looks tidy and is characterised by few trees stretching far apart in the visible yard. The young one finds comfort in the laps of her mother and does not seem to distract a mother who looks busy with whatever she is sewing. They seem to be enjoying the moment silently with a sense of an earnest feeling. Around 1890, Mary Cassatt focused on making art works that depicted themes about women tending after children and children in general.

She incorporated the use of two unrelated models portraying the roles played by the mother and child as seen from the painting. This particular painting was bought in 1901 by Louisine Havemeyer who regarded it as being truthful. Young mother sewing was also known as little girl leaning on her mother’s knee. Though she never had children herself, she expressed her love and tenderness for all the children.

Her breakthrough came through when she was gifted a commission at the Chicago World's Fair. It is after this that she met Edgar Degas with whom they founded a lasting friendship together with other variant impressionist rebels. This group influenced Mary who later changed her new painting style. Her works were now made with the use of light colours and the paintings were more of people.

As talked about earlier, Mary's artworks comprised women and their children or just children. Mary disliked artists who focused on creating modern artworks and she even spoke and described some of them as "dreadful paintings". She also did a number of other paintings, the likes of Gardner (Held by His Mother. Like most of her paintings it still reflects about the mother son relationship through the pictorial view of a mother holding up a baby considered to be her male child.