Friday, April 23, 2010

Mary Cassatt and Brussels Griffons

This is a photo of  the American Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. I can't tell you much about her, as I'm extremely ignorant and basically know nothing. However, I do know she was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania from a well placed family of bankers (mother's family) and a stockbroker father. Much to the dismay of her family, she chose to become a professional artist, and at the youthful age of 15, attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She moved to Paris in the year 1866. I remember reading somewhere she was prone to violent sea sickness, a problem that limited her traveling between countries. She became friends with the French artist Edgar Degas, who encouraged her to join the Impressionist movement. 

She was also very fond of little dogs. Especially Brussels Griffons.   


These are Brussels Griffons.

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by Mary Cassatt, 1878.

I like this picture. I like the colors and the way the little girl is slouched in the chair. The small dog sleeping is one of Cassatt's Brussel Griffons. I seem to recall a story about one of Cassatt's dogs getting away and never being found.  She was so upset that Degas (no great dog lover) found a breeder of Griffins and bought her a new one. I may be imagining that story. I do that sometimes. Degas also worked a bit on this painting. He either painted part of one chair, or the rug and curtains. I'm not sure exactly, as it depends on which expert you refer to. 


Sara with her Dog in an Armchair by Mary Cassatt, 1901.

This may not be a Brussels Griffon, but I included it because the little girl is cute. I made a small effort to learn who Sara was, but without any success. Maybe someone who reads this could tell me.

Portrait of Marie Louise Durand Ruel by Mary Cassatt, 1911.

That certainly looks like a Brussels Griffon to me. Though I know nothing about Ms. Ruel, she has a sweet face and looks like a pleasant person.  

Simone in a Large Plumed Hat Seated Holding a Griffon Dog by Mary Cassatt.

Maybe that was a Brussels Griffon Sara was holding. I think it's a shame people don't wear hats the way they used to.

Self Portrait of Mary Cassatt, 1878.

Apparently, Cassatt was not considered attractive by some people. I think she looks quite pretty in this picture.

Well, I'm all pooped now. Thank you for tolerating my uninformed ramblings.

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