Friday, October 30, 2009
Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia
In 1877, Cassatt's parents and sister Lydia came to live in Paris with Mary who was struggling to gain some place in the art scene. As Mary had decided not to marry (and "dwindle into a wife"), Lydia was her close companion whom she painted several times. But Lydia was ill and after five years in Paris, she died. For a time Mary was too bereaved to work.
There is a lovely, thoughtful novel about the Cassatt sisters called "Lydia Cassatt reading the morning papers" by Harriet Scott Chessman. The portrait shown is Lydia two years before she died as painted by Mary.