Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Artist

Mary Cassatt (Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now Pittsburgh), 1844 - 1926, Mesnil-Théribus, France)

Title

The Barefoot Child

Creation Date

1897

Century

19th century

Dimensions

28 1/4 in. x 21 1/8 in. (71.76 cm x 53.66 cm)

Object Type

drawing

Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

pastel on off-white wove paper

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth, in memory of her husband, Dr. Murray S. Danforth, Class of 1901

Copyright

Public Domain

Accession Number

1953.42
Early in 1897, the American artist Mary Cassatt delivered three major pastel compositions to her Parisian dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. One was The Barefoot Child, which was acquired by American collector Alfred Atmore Pope and later given to the Museum. While Cassatt had preferred the brush early in her career, drawing became central to her artistic identity later. The lines in Cassatt’s drawings, pastels, and prints are strong and smooth, but irregular strokes reveal the constant decision making in her artistic process. With its vigorous crosshatching and exuberant colors, this work exemplifies how she and other Impressionist artists in Europe departed from academic models and broke new ground in the art of portraiture and of pastel drawing.

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