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1 / Converging Cultures

The Fitting
The Fitting
Artist / Origin Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)
Region: Europe
Date 1890–91
Material Drypoint and aquatint etching on off-white, moderately thick, moderately textured laid paper
Dimensions (Image) H: 14 13/16 in. (37.6 cm.), W: 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm.); (Sheet) H: 17 ¼ in. (43.8 cm.), W: 12 in. (30.5 cm.)
Location Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York
Credit Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

expert perspective

Karen SherryAssistant Curator of American Art, Brooklyn Museum

The Fitting

» Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

expert perspective

Karen Sherry Karen Sherry Assistant Curator of American Art, Brooklyn Museum

Mary Cassatt was an American expatriot artist, and she spent much of her professional career working in Paris, where she joined the French Impressionists. She was also an artist who embraced Japanese art.

The most innovative and experimental series of prints she did was a series of ten color etchings she made in 1890 and ’91. And the series was a direct result of her viewing ukiyo-e prints at an exhibition in Paris. Cassatt went and saw this exhibition. She encouraged her friends to come and see it as well. In a letter that she wrote to her friend and fellow painter, Berthe Morisot, Cassatt said, ‘You must not miss this exhibition. You couldn’t dream of anything more beautiful.’ So viewing these Japanese wood block prints that were done in color inspired Cassatt to try to make her own color prints. But she used various etching techniques rather than wood block techniques.

Cassatt herself had a collection of Japanese prints, particularly by the artist Utamaro, who often specialized in scenes of women at leisure and geisha. And in The Fitting, you can see how her own subjects of modern, Western life are represented with a very Japanese look.” 

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