The Artistic Relationship between Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt are believed to have shared a common relationship, both working and personal. Although there is no exact proof indicating a relationship between the two, there is enough evidence indicating the working relationship that the two artists maintained…
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It was due to her burning passion for art that prompted her to persuade her father to allow her to go to Europe and start her painting career. It was during one of his visits to the salon that Degas saw a painting by Cassatt. Later when they met, he introduced her to the group of artists called The French Impressionists. From this point, an artistic as well as a personal relationship developed between the two artists. Various critics and observers as well as close friends point out that Cassatt’s work was an inspiration of Degas, while Degas relied on her for postures and critics1. To find out the relationship between the two artists, this paper will analyze some of the works by the two artists as well as critic’s thoughts and ideas about their relationship. At the start of her career in France, Cassatt greatly admired the works of Degas and several other artists from the impressionists group. She was mostly impressed by the modernity and the colorfulness of the picture. The freedom and independence in which the artists did their painting captivated her. When their relationship flourished, Degas helped her not only adopt the fresh colors that were central to the new impressionism, but also the light effects that created the picture of modernity paintings. Moreover, Degas’s use of Japanese woodcuts and etchings molded Cassatt to a great printmaker as she constantly borrowed the art from him, making her an equal innovator just like him. Although Degas was classified as an impressionist, he never adopted the color fleck characterized by the impressionists. Instead, he was a classical artist, who was inspected by the wars and their tombs, which he expressed through paintings. On her part, Cassatt’s work was a blend of modernity and classics, especially the manner in which she looked at things, passionately and with compassion2. The impressionists were a group of artists who used color and light to paint that saw the revolution of the modern form of painting among the people, a departure from the traditional way of painting. Initially, it was developed by artists from Paris who did not embrace the idea of following painting standards set by the government. They did not have to present their work to the salon in front of a judge who would determine whether they met the standards or not3. Mostly, they painted about modernity and the issues facing the society around them, without the usual allure of traditionalism in the paintings. Critics point out that before she met these artists, Cassatt was experiencing a hard time with her painting career as she used to express it openly. Two of her paintings had been rejected by the judge, which left her devastated and desperate. In what appeared to have been the revolution of her career was her meeting with Degas. She acknowledged that she felt alive when she made the discovery of the impressionists. The two artists were drawn closer by similar ideologies that they shared, especially their resentment for the salon and love for modern paintings. The sharing of a common artistic sensibilities and interests by the two artists propelled the growth and development of their working relationship that lasted for forty years. They both shared a similar background, as they all came from upper-class of the rich. Due to this, their works portrayed a form of resemblance and similarity in their thinking and settings. In addition to paintings of each other, some of which
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