Lot 53
  • 53

MARY CASSATT | Young Mother in a Floppy Hat and Green Dress with Her Child Outdoors

1,500,000 - 2,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Mary Cassatt
  • Young Mother in a Floppy Hat and Green Dress with Her Child Outdoors 
  • signed Mary Cassatt (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 28 7/8 by 23 5/8 inches
  • (73.3 by 60 cm)
  • Painted in 1914.


The artist
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France, 1914 (acquired from the above)
Mme. Jean-Pierre, 1941 (acquired from the above)
Martin Fabiani, Paris, France
Galerie Pétridès, Paris, France
David B. Findlay Galleries, New York
Pascal Gatterdam
Charles E. Slatkin Galleries, New York
Leo M. Rogers, New York (sold: Christie's, London, June 24, 1966, lot 20)
Arthur Murray (acquired at the above sale)
Sold: Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1970, lot 31
Kennedy Galleries, New York
Private collection, 1978 (acquired from the above)
Acquired by the present owner from the above, by 2004


Paris, France, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Tableaux, pastels, dessins, et pointes-sèches par Mary Cassatt, June 1914, no. 2 (as Femme tenant un enfant sur ses genoux
Paris, France, Galerie Hodebert, 1929, n.p.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Panorama de la pintura norteamericana 1826–1976, 1980, n.p. (as Mère et enfant)


"What's Happening in the World of Art," New York Sun, April 18, 1915, p. 3 (as Woman in Hat and Her Child
L'art vivant, June 1, 1929, p. 464
Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, Mary Cassatt: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Oils, Pastels, Watercolors, and Drawings, Washington, D.C., 1970, no. 551, p. 201, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Mary Cassatt received her early artistic training at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she began studying in 1860 at the age of sixteen. In 1865, the young artist left Philadelphia for Paris and took private lessons with Jean-Léon Gérôme. With the exception of a brief return to Philadelphia in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Cassatt remained in Europe for the remainder of her life, settling permanently in Paris in 1875. Two years later, she became the only American artist to join the French Impressionist group at the invitation of her close friend Edgar Degas. She later recalled, “I accepted with joy. At last I could work without considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Monet, Courbet, and Degas. I hated conventional art. I had begun to live life” (as quoted in Griselda Pollock, Mary Cassatt, New York, 1980, p. 9). Cassatt’s association with the French Impressionists enhanced her reputation and her work was highly sought after by collectors on both sides of the Atlantic.  While Cassatt’s work of the 1870s had reflected her interest in the experience of modern women in Parisian society, by the 1880s her emphasis began to shift from the public to the private domains of women’s lives, and thus to the quiet, intimate moments spent within the domestic realm. Depictions of motherhood, largely comprised of simple, daily interactions between mothers and their children, were a natural outcome of Cassatt’s movement into the private sphere. This shift was immediately noted by contemporary critics, who singled out the images of women and children Cassatt submitted to the sixth Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1881 for special praise. One critic, Joris Karl Huysmans, observed that Cassatt had managed to avoid the cloying sentimentality that so often affected scenes of maternal tenderness and devotion. Painted in 1914, Young Mother in a Floppy Hat and Green Dress with Her Child Outdoors epitomizes Cassatt’s inimitable ability to capture the timeless bond between a mother and her child, a subject that accounts for one-third of the artist’s oeuvre.

In Young Mother in a Floppy Hat and Green Dress with Her Child Outdoors, a young girl perches casually on her mother’s lap, leaning into her supportive embrace. Both figures gaze into the distance, avoiding eye contact with the viewer and creating the impression that Cassatt has caught them in a natural state rather than in a scene she has composed. Through the artist’s thoughtful positioning of the figures, she captures the psychological nuances that characterize familial relationships. Cassatt renders both figures’ facial features with careful attention and accuracy, while depicting their dresses and the background with dynamic strokes of paint that imbue the canvas with a sense of movement. Her monochromatic palette and thick layering of paint is distinctly modern and certainly innovative for the period. The broad brushstrokes and painterly style is evocative of the large-scale, colorful canvases of Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (Fig. 1). Indeed, both women were pioneers of their time who utilized gestural strokes of vibrant pigment to capture the world around them. 

In Young Mother in a Floppy Hat and Green Dress with Her Child Outdoors, Cassatt embraces a new visual language to depict modern life and convey the inimitable tenderness often present in a mother’s interaction with her child. It exemplifies Cassatt’s ability to celebrate the motif in a manner devoid of sentiment yet full of emotion, creating a work that is simultaneously modern and traditional. 

This work is included as no. 664 in the Cassatt Committee's revision of Adelyn Dohme Breeskin's catalogue raisonné of the works of Mary Cassatt.