Description: American Mary Cassatt became one of the great painters of her age, achieving fame at a time when women were discouraged from pursuing artistic careers. She left her native Pennsylvania in 1865 to study in Paris, and by the early 1870s had determined to remain there permanently. Her sister, Lydia, joined her in the mid 1870s, and before the end of the decade, they were sharing a large apartment on the Avenue Trudaine with their parents. At the same time, Cassatt was entering the Impressionist circle, then a notorious group of avant-garde painters in Paris. She showed with them for the first time in 1879. The following year, Cassatt painted The Visitor, a portrait of Lydia, who was her favorite model. In 1878, Lydia was diagnosed with Bright’s Disease, an incurable kidney ailment. Cassatt’s many paintings of Lydia are masterworks, they immortalize her sister, but they also reveal the many hours they spent together once they knew their time would be brief.