This bold composition reveals the influence of the flat, patterned surfaces, simplified color, and unusual angles of Japanese prints, which enjoyed a huge vogue in Paris in the late 1800s. The dark figure of the man compresses the picture onto the flat plane of the canvas, and the horizon is pushed to the top, collapsing a sense of distance. Our higher vantage point gives us an oblique view into the boat. Its form is divided into decorative shapes by the intersection of its horizontal supports.

After 1893, Cassatt began to spend many summers on the Mediterranean coast at Antibes. Under its intense sun, she began to experiment with harder, more decorative color. Here, citron and blue carve strong arcs that divide the picture into assertive, almost abstract, shapes. This picture, with its bold geometry and decorative patterning of the surface, positions Cassatt with such post–impressionist painters as Gauguin and Van Gogh

This painting, one of her most ambitious, was the centerpiece of Cassatt's first solo exhibition in the United States in 1895. Her contacts with wealthy friends in the United States did much to bring avant–garde French painting into this country.


  • Title: The Boating Party
  • Creator: Mary Cassatt
  • Date Created: 1893/1894
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 90 x 117.3 cm (35 7/16 x 46 3/16 in.) framed: 112.1 x 137.8 cm (44 1/8 x 54 1/4 in.)
  • Provenance: The artist [1844-1926] until at least 1918;[1] (Durand-Ruel, New York); sold 1 October 1929 to Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA. [1]See 12 February 1914 letter from the artist to Durand-Ruel, in Lionell Venturi, Les archives de l'impressionism, 2 vols., Paris and New York, 1939: II:133. Lent by Cassatt to US traveling exhibition _Six American Women_, 1917-1918.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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