Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter

Mary Cassatt: Impressionist Painter

Lois V. Harris
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Pelican Publishing, 2007   ISBN: 978-1589804524

When Mary Cassatt was still a young girl, she very much wanted to be a painter. Her parents, wanting to encourage their artistically inclined daughter, arranged for Mary to have art lessons. Little did they realize that their daughter intended to make a career for herself as a painter. At this time, in the 1800’s, very few women were professional artists, and Mary had to be very persuasive to get her parents to let her go to art school.

After attending art school in Philadelphia for two years, Mary began to pester her parents to let her go to Europe to continue her studies. Her father was against the idea, but Mary’s mother thought that Mary should be allowed to go, and Mary was able to travel around France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium studying the works of the old masters.

Back in Paris, one of Mary’s paintings was chosen to be shown at the Salon, a very prestigious art show. The career she had dreamed about was beginning at last.

This beautifully presented picture book not only tells the story of Mary Cassatt’s life, but it also shows young readers how Mary was influenced by the French painters that she met. Readers will discover how Mary came to love the impressionist style of painting, and how she developed a style that bridged the old styles of painting and the new. Throughout the book, there are reproductions of art works that were created by Mary Cassatt and her contemporaries.