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Sheet: 31.3 x 40.1 cm (12 5/16 x 15 13/16 in.); Image: 28 x 22 cm (11 x 8 11/16 in.)
Bequest of Charles T. Brooks 1941.85
In this working drawing for the softground etching and aquatint of the same title, Cassatt portrays her mother in a quiet moment of concentration with her handwork. Freely drawn, the study was used to block out main areas of light and dark with strong diagonal shading in graphite. Cassatt's skillful arrangement of forms may be found in the contrast between the curving lines of the figure and the armchair with the verticals and horizontals of the flanking bookcase. Cassatt's mother, Katherine Kelso Cassatt, had received a Continental education, spoke fluent French, and was extremely well read. She oversaw the rigorous education of her children and supported Cassatt's artistic career, living abroad with her daughter and often serving as a model.
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