Portraits of friends and acquaintances abound in the work of Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt. This pastel marks a rare instance of a work completed while traveling in the United States, where Cassatt spent eighteen months, beginning in January 1898, after more than twenty years living in France. The work was given to the sitter as a token of friendship by the artist, but the unfinished quality of the pastel suggests the hurried nature of completing a drawing while traveling and away from one’s studio.
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