Portrait of Mlle C. Lydia Cassatt, 1880 (oil on canvas), Cassatt, Mary Stevenson (1844-1926) / Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee du Petit-Palais, France / The Bridgeman Art Library
Affluence did not prevent Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926) from becoming a professional artist in an era when wealthy American women did not usually work. Studying in the United States and later moving to France, Cassatt considered the work of Edgar Degas to be life-altering, prompting her to become a prominent Impressionist. Cassatt principally painted children and scenes of motherhood with simplicity, energetic brushwork and glowing colors. Her work graces many private and public collections, including Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.