Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)
Pastel on wove paper, mounted on canvas
25 1/2 x 32 in. (64.8 x 81.3 cm)
From the Collection of James Stillman, Gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stilllman, 1922 (22.16.22)
After about 1893, Cassatt's attention to the special bond between mother and child came to the fore in her work. In this ambitious sheet, the suggestion of the woman as a secular "modern Madonna" is explicit. Cassatt, however, seemed equally interested in creating a childhood genre scene and exploring textures, patterns, and still-life details. The delicate handling of the medium reflects her susceptibility to French Rococo pastels, such as those by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, drawings that are notable for their precision, clarity, and light painterly touch.