May 22 ~  Shake the Tree Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives

"I think that if you shake the tree, you ought to be around when the fruit falls to pick it up." ~ Mary Cassatt

 Mary Cassatt

Outspoken artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926) was born on this day in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. The child of affluence, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and traveled extensively abroad, fueling her passion for painting.

Because of her wealth, she could paint what she wanted, quite an opportunity for a woman in the then male-dominated art world. "I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work," she said, a leader in 19th-century feminism.

"Prepare your palette," she said.

In 1868, she exhibited her first piece in Paris. Along with Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, she "began to live" and embraced the glow of the impressionists genre.

A fighter for artistic freedom, she said, "If painting is no longer needed, it seems a pity that some of us are born into the world with such a passion for line and color."

Influenced by the Japanese The art form Ukiyo-e, Cassatt painted With brushwork clarity, beauty, and rich colors. She was not interested in landscape painting, but instead celebrated womanhood in daily settings, creating snapshots of her time in history.

In 1893, she painted the Modern Woman mural for the Chicago World's Fair, a powerful statement of achievement and potential.

"I have touched with a sense of art some people," she said. "They felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?"

More Art & Artists Quotations

Be kind to yourselfStick around and pick up the fruit.