The Lamp by Mary Stevenson Cassatt

  • This intimate scene of a woman at leisure is by the Impressionist Mary Cassatt
  • Serene and beautifully executed, this drypoint etching displays Cassatt’s debt to Japanese prints
  • Cassatt is celebrated as one of art history’s leading female Impressionists
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5896

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Mary Stevenson Cassatt
1844–1926 | American

The Lamp

Signed (lower center)
Drypoint, soft-ground etching, and aquatint, printed in colors, inked à la poupée, on laid paper
Edition of 25. Fourth and final state

Along with her contemporary Berthe Morisot, Mary Stevenson Cassatt is celebrated as one of art history’s leading female Impressionists. A dedicated printmaker, Cassatt produced more than two hundred aquatints, etchings, drypoints and lithographs over a period of thirty years. The present work, entitled The Lamp, is part of a series of ten color prints that she executed, with the help of M. LeRoy, a professional printer, in 1890-91. Although Cassatt frequently based prints on her earlier paintings and pastels, this series of ten color prints are remarkable not only for their original compositions but also for their appropriation of Japanese printmaking styles. Today, they are considered among the finest prints in American art, a fitting tribute to Cassatt’s radical approach.

Of the series, The Lamp is perhaps the one that most reveals Cassatt’s debt to Japanese prints, and it also demonstrates her growing mastery of the aquatint technique. The evolution of the print’s composition is slight, with only a few minor changes from the first to the fourth and final state. Earlier prints in her series of color aquatints required as many as seventeen states for the artist to be satisfied. In The Lamp, Cassatt, having settled on the composition early on, was able to embark on a remarkable exploration of color printing, in which she used the aquatint technique on all three plates used to make the final print. By the final state, of which the present print is an example, Cassatt had carefully reworked each color region to avoid overlap and maximize the crispness of line. The result is one of most dynamic and colorful of her series of prints, a true masterpiece in American printmaking.

Circa 1890–91

Paper: 12 3/4” high x 9 15/16” wide
Frame: 22” high x 20” wide

This piece is pictured on page 22 of Mary Cassatt: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Graphic Work, 1979, by A. Dohme Breeskin

Spanierman Gallery, New York, 2010, In Praise of WomenM.S. Rau, New Orleans, 2022, Revolutionaries: The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists
The Lamp by Mary Stevenson Cassatt
Maker: Cassatt, Mary
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Other Fine Art
Depth: 2.0 Inches
Width: 19.25 Inches
Height: 22.0 Inches
Style: Post-Impressionism
Canvas Width: 16.25 Inches
Canvas Height: 19.25 Inches
The Lamp by Mary Stevenson Cassatt
New Orleans Magazine

M.S. Rau Unveils New, FREE Exhibition – Revolutionaries: The Impressionists & Post Impressionists NEW ORLEANS (press release) – In celebration of its 110th anniversary, M.S. Rau will present its new exhibition, Revolutionar...

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