Painting With The Girls 114
April 23, 2016
Day 114 (252 days to go)
Mary Cassatt continued enjoying classes in the countryside for the next year and half. It was her intention to stay at least a few more years in France before returning home for a visit. By the spring of 1868, Mary Cassatt and her friend Eliza finally heard from the Salon. Both their paintings had been accepted. They were completely elated with the news. They arranged to go to Paris and spend time there until the exhibit and all the events were finished. They gave up their apartment in Ecouen and stayed in a hotel for several weeks.
A Mandolin Player is Mary’s earliest, surviving painting, and it established her as a figure painter. Mary enjoyed this very early success in her career, but also later had to reconcile with the frustration of being rejected for many years by the Salon.
The two friends enjoyed this visit to Paris and even visited the infamous Mabille Gardens to enjoy the outdoor dance and watch the latest trend in cancan dancing.
In the end of May, Mary went back by herself to a small town near Ecouen. She arranged to stay at the Villiers-le-Bel boarding school and study with a new teacher, named Thomas Couture, also well known among Americans. In the summer, she went back to Paris to visit Eliza and her brother Carsten, who had been a childhood crush. If Cassatt had ever considered marriage, this would have been the opportunity to rethink it. Instead Carsten left with Eliza back to America and Mary had to adjust to a life without her close friend. Eliza was married a year later and their friendship became distant and cold.
Another year went by, and in the summer of 1870 Mary’s mother came to take her back to America.