May 21, 2016

Painting With The Girls 142

May 21, 2016

Day 142 (224 days to go)

Watercolor Panel 5X7, watercolor

Mary Cassatt Part 7

As the new century rolled in, Mary Cassatt at age fifty-five realize that her art generation was in decline, as they made room for the Modernists who were gaining recognition.

In 1901 Mary was invited by her old friends the Havemeyers to come along with them to Italy and Spain and help them with her expertise to find old masters paintings for their art collection. Mary agreed and thought this would be a good opportunity to rekindle her close friendship with American friend Louisine Havemeyers.  The trip lasted about ten months and they were successful in finding old masters and purchasing El Greco’s that were obscured at the time. This great collection resides in the United Stated and Mary is remembered in Louisine’s memoirs that were published in 1930.

Upon her return, Mary went straight to work for an exhibit organized by Durand-Ruel in 1903 in New York. Her paintings show that Mary was inspired again by the old masters on her visit to Italy and Spain. Her subjects were richly dressed and they looked grand. Her next years were very productive.

As Mary reached her sixtieth birthday, she and her Brother Gardner’s family decided to take a long trip to Egypt. This trip was to take several months, but as they had just started, her brother became very ill. Nobody really new what was the cause of his ailment. Until he was taken away to proper care, Mary’s health also declined in this period. She went home and was diagnosed with untreated diabetes. She was unable to work for a long time until her health improved. She worked steadily in the mornings and occupied the rest of her day with friends such as Renoir who was her close neighbor.

Mary also was involved in donating her work to the suffrage cause in the USA through her friend Louisine Havemeyer. Because oh her own families lack of support back in the USA for the suffrages cause, Mary decided that she didn’t want to leave her paintings to Aleck’s family. She sold all the paintings she had at home and changed her will to benefit only Gardner’s’ children.  

In the last years of her life Mary suffered of rheumatism and cataracts that had to be treated with surgeries. She never painted again and died of complications of diabetes in January 14, 1926.