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Cassatt Artist Study

Updated on June 29, 2015

Impressionist Painter of Women and Children

Mary Cassatt is an excellent choice for your homeschool artist study. She is one of the few women Impressionists, and commonly portrays domestic scenes of women and children.

She was American by birth, but lived for much of her life in France, surrounded by the other great Impressionists of her day.

My nine year old daughter, Sprite, and I studied Cassatt for one term of her fourth grade year. In nine weeks we looked at about 25 of her works and slowly digested her unique style. Our method of studying each artist is distinctly Charlotte Mason in method. After studying the painting for a few minutes, Sprite verbally narrates it back to me. Every now and then we switch roles: I narrate and Sprite listens! It's quite simple and takes only a few minutes each day. But the results are impressive. She can easily identify a Cassatt now -- even one we haven't studied. When I gave her the quiz below, she correctly identified the Cassatt without any trouble.

For more about the basics of Charlotte Mason styled artist study, visit Artist Study Charlotte Mason Style.

Our Cassatt Spine

First Impressions: Mary Cassatt
First Impressions: Mary Cassatt

This is the book we used as a spine for our study of Mary Cassatt. Why this book? Simple answer -- I found it for a good price, used, at Half.com! From what I could tell in the description, it had a fair share of color prints. And I did find it adequate, especially for the price I paid. There were certainly enough large images of Cassatt's work to carry us through an entire term. I didn't even read most of the text. We just wanted to study the art itself.

 

Another Possible Cassatt Art Spine

Mary Cassatt: Oils and Pastels
Mary Cassatt: Oils and Pastels

This book looks to me to be a better option than the one I used. It is primarily images, and that's exactly what you want for an artist study book -- loads of large, full color images.

If at all possible, go to a bookstore or library and LOOK at the book before you buy. Try to find a volume that has the most and biggest images and the least text.

 

Links to Works of Art

I prefer a book in hand when it comes to homeschool, but you can do an entire artist study from the Internet.

Olga's Gallery is a wonderful free resource! Some people choose to download the weekly image and then use it as a computer screensaver for that week. If you'd like to make your own choices or add to this list of twelve, visit Olga's Cassatt gallery (be sure to go on to page 2 for all of them).

These twelve works of art will offer a good sampling of Mary Cassatt's style and subjects.

1. Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878

2. Miss Mary Ellison, c. 1880

3. The Loge, 1882

4. Two Children at the Seashore, 1884

5. Girl Arranging Her Hair, 1886

6. Child in a Straw Hat, c. 1886

7. Portrait of an Elderly Lady, c. 1887

8. Woman with a Red Zinnia, 1891

9. The Boating Party, 1893/1894

10. Sara in a Green Bonnet, c. 1901

11. The Bath, c. 1893

12. Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and His Son Robert, 1885

Look at one work of art each week for nine to twelve weeks, looking at the piece and narrating it back verbally. Alternatively, a child can do a drawn narration at times.

Of course, if at all possible, go see some of Cassatt's works in a museum or exhibit. A year before studying Cassatt, we were fortunate enough to see one of her works in Memphis, TN.

"There's only one thing in life for a woman; it's to be a mother.... A woman artist must be ... capable of making primary sacrifices."

---- Mary Cassatt

Making our Own Cassatt

For each artist we study, we choose one painting and do our own version or reproduction of it. Here is Sprite's version of The Family. The original follows it.

I participate right alongside my daughter. Why? Mainly because I think it's plain interesting and fun! But it also helps us to bond as we spend time together working on projects. When I open myself up to her suggestions, she is likewise more apt to receive mine. So here's my humble version of A Little Girl in a Blue Armchair with the original underneath.

Suzette and the Puppy

Mary Cassatt's Artwork

This nice slideshow gives a great overview of Cassatt paintings set to soothing background music.

Smart About Art Series

Mary Cassatt: Family Pictures (Smart About Art)
Mary Cassatt: Family Pictures (Smart About Art)

I love the Smart about Art Series! Told is such an engaging style, full of facts and pictures, these books are worth placing in your home library.

 

Mary Cassatt said

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

Cassatt Printables

Color Your Own Cassatt Paintings

Color Your Own Mary Cassatt Masterpieces (Dover Art Coloring Book)
Color Your Own Mary Cassatt Masterpieces (Dover Art Coloring Book)

For a discussion of using coloring books in a Charlotte Mason education, visit Barb's post Art Appreciation Using Dover Coloring Books.

This is a Dover Coloring Book. You'll be impressed with the detail in the image and the quality of the paper.

 

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    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi Jimmie

      Our Cassatt study was one of our favourites! You can go and see what we did at http://www.fun-learning-activities-for-children.co... if you like.

      Lovely lens! I am going to see if my two can pick out the Cassatt tomorrow. :-)

      Blessings

      Eloise

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great page!!! We haven't studied Mary Cassatt by herself, but we did study her along with the Impressionists. I searched my site for "cassatt" and found 3 entries (http://alexml.blogspot.com/search?q=cassatt).

      One of them is a Cassatt we saw in Colorado.

      The 2nd one shows "We also talked about how Mary Cassatt was greatly influenced by Japanese prints. She even had her own printing press! So, we made some prints by etching into some kind of foam paper with a stylus, painting the foam paper one color, and then making a print."

      And, the 3rd included some Impressionist resources.

      I want to study Cassatt all by herself after reading your page! :-)

      Dana

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 8 years ago from PA

      Hey I guessed right. Not only did I think d was it but I just love that painting. This was a wonderful lens. Great Job. 5 stars!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Gorgeous lens. Great job. I loved the children's pictures the best.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 8 years ago

      Beautiful arts.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      very very beautiful

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Another wonderful Lens! Thank you, Jimmie.

      :D

    • groovyoldlady profile image

      groovyoldlady 8 years ago

      I was right...HA! Excellent lens. Makes me feel like doing some sketching. Do you think my stick figures will one day be famous?

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      We're studying Cassatt in January. This is an excellent resource (as usual!) I'm going to add it to my January's Artist sidebar.

      Thanks for taking the time to put together such wonderful helps!

      Cindy

      http://ourjourneywestward.com

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Beautiful... what an amazing talent she had! 5* and blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Doing a project on her currently, beautiful works of art

      Such an inspiration

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 7 years ago

      What beautiful art! Love it. 5*

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 7 years ago

      My sons are adults and we did not homestudy. But, this looks like a rich resource for teaching children art appreciation.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      What a wonderful resource, both for homeschoolers and for those with an interest in learning more about Cassatt. I really liked the personal touch you and your lovely daughter added to this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I will be leading a CM style art appreciation homeschool group. My contribution will be the picture study. This site has been so valuable to me as I gather information about Cassatt. It is my go to resource now for our art study. I plan on using your other links on Monet and Audubon too! Thanks for all your work.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Well, that was a surprise in that I got it correct! You have presented this topic quite loverly my dear! Such a fabulous TOPIC!

    • PainMan1 profile image

      PainMan1 5 years ago

      Another great artist study lens! Great job!

    • profile image

      Ladylinchpin 4 years ago

      I am impressed with this lens. After being a public art teacher for over 20 years, I enjoy that the "masters" are incorporated into a lesson for children. I also used The Bath and other Cassatt paintings as examples of composition for my students. Bravo!

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