News Archive 2009-2018

Celebrating Mary Cassatt’s Birthday with Bowdoin’s ‘Barefoot Child’ Archives

"The Barefoot Child," Mary Cassatt, 1897, pastel, gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth, in memory of her husband, Dr. Murray S. Danforth, Class of 1901.

Renowned American painter and printmaker Mary Cassatt was born this day, May 22, 1844.

Trained at the Pennsylvania Academy and then with French academician Jean-Léon Gérôme, Cassatt devoted much of her time in the 1860s to copying works in the Louvre.  In 1875, however, she changed direction after seeing a group of pastels by Edgar Degas.  “It changed my life,” she later recalled.  “I saw art then as I wanted to see it.”

Cassatt, whose painting The Barefoot Child is among the collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, became known for her images depicting the social and private lives of women, particularly the intimate bonds between mother and child.