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Art and Images in Psychiatry |

The Child's Bath

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(10):1116. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.65.10.1116.
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In April 1915, the “Suffrage Loan Exhibition of Old Masters and Works by Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt” opened at the Knoedler Galleries in New York. Cassatt (1844-1926) believed women were innately humanitarian and that their views should be represented through voting, particularly at a time of war. The irony amused her, too, that Degas (1834-1917), who sometimes made sexist comments about feminists, would be linked to a feminist cause.2(p303)However, the New York exhibit did not include paintings she had given to her own family members. Cassatt came from a prominent Philadelphia family; her brother was president of the Pennsylvania Railroad and one of the wealthiest men in the country. Although he was a supporter of the arts, Cassatt's 2 Philadelphia sisters-in-law opposed women's suffrage and refused to lend paintings that she had given them to the exhibit. In retaliation, after the event ended, Cassatt sold or donated major paintings of hers that she had planned to leave to them as her heirs.2(p309)

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Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), American. The Child's Bath, 1893. Oil on canvas, 39½ × 26 in. Robert A. Waller Fund, 1910.2, The Art Institute of Chicago (http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/111442). Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago.

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Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), American. Young Mother, Daughter, and Baby(Jeune mére, fillette et bébé), 1913. Pastel on paper, 43¼ × 33¼ in. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: Marion Stratton Gould Fund (http://magart.rochester.edu/Obj3059$6436). Photo credit: James Via.

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