Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt

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One of three female artists and the only American officially associated with Impressionism, Mary Cassatt was also an invaluable adviser, helping introduce European art to major collectors in the United States. Cassatt strongly believed that painting needed to reflect modern life. Her modern woman is expertly rendered in the 1878 painting In the Loge, the first Impressionist work the artist exhibited in the United States. Many male artists depicted women in theater boxes as objects of display, but Cassatt's female protagonist plays a dynamic role engaged in the act of looking. Nonetheless, the male gaze prevails, as in the distance, a gray-haired theatergoer stares directly at her with his own binoculars. As viewer and onlooker, we complete the circle.