Editor's Choice

Degas, Cassatt Exhibit and More

The Inevitable Relationship of Art and Sensibility

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) and Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
At the West Building, National Gallery of Art through October

By Patricia Keegan

When her work first appeared in 1879, American artist Mary Cassatt stated that her initial encounter with Degas’s art “changed my life,” while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt’s art for the first time, reputedly remarked “there is someone who feels as I do.”

It was this shared sensibility, as well as Mary Cassatt’s extraordinary talent, that drew Degas’s attention. As you walk through this outstanding exhibit arranged with the works of Degas and Cassatt, sometimes side by side, it takes you back to a time of exuberance in the art world when the Impressionist movement made color dance. Although both artists eschewed landscapes almost entirely, the exhibit is alive with color and inspiration.

 Edgar Degas,  Two Studies of Mary Cassatt at the Louvre , 1879, charcoal and pastel on gray wove paper, Private collection, New York

Edgar Degas, Two Studies of Mary Cassatt at the Louvre, 1879, charcoal and pastel on gray wove paper, Private collection, New York