9781556708527 / 1556708521

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About the book:

For readers who are looking for an instructive first glance or an introduction to Mary Cassatt, this book is perfect. The medium-sized volume contains a biography of Cassatt by art historian Debra Mancoff and also offers reproductions that are surprisingly large and clear. These plates give readers as accurate a view as is possible in a book of Cassatt's virtuoso brushwork, sure-handed lines, and soft, deep aquatints.

Mancoff includes many of the artist's piquant remarks (as well as quotes from her friends and acquaintances, who found Cassatt often charming, always impressive, and sometimes "slashing" in her outspokenness). Upon seeing Degas's work for the first time, Cassatt flattened her nose against the window of the shop where they were shown, "to absorb all I could." When Degas urged her to exhibit with the impressionists instead of in the stuffy, official French salon, she "accepted with joy," she wrote. "I hated conventional art. I began to live." Mancoff has a nice touch with details, and her book should be just right for anyone who wants to learn more about this gifted and ambitious artist. The long, enriched captions for the plates are like the tape-recorded tours that accompany major exhibitions. They give the reader enough historical and critical background to make the works of art as meaningful as possible. --Peggy Moorman

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