Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge

Mary Cassatt1879

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Cassatt created a series of theater scenes in the late 1870s, displaying an interest in city nightlife shared by many of the Impressionists. This work, showing a woman (often said to be her sister Lydia) seated in front of a mirror with the balconies of the Paris Opéra House reflected behind her, demonstrates the influence of Cassatt’s friend Edgar Degas, particularly in the attention paid to the effects of artificial lighting on flesh tones. This painting was shown in Paris at the fourth Impressionist exhibition in 1879, where it was singled out for much praise.

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  • Title: Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge
  • Date Created: 1879
  • Provenance: Alexis Rouart (1839-1911), Paris, possibly acquired from the artist c.1879, until d. 1911 [1]; Louis Rouart, as of 1913 [2]; Alexis' son Henri Rouart, Paris, 1911 until at least 1943 [3]. Marcel Midy, Paris, by 1953-1966; sold to Wildenstein & Co., New York, 1966 [4]; sold to Charlotte Dorrance Wright (1911-1977) and William Coxe Wright (d. 1970), St. Davids, PA, October 24, 1966, until his d. 1970 [5]; Charlotte Dorrance Wright; bequest to PMA, 1978. 1. See Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman (exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago), New York, 1998, no. 18, and p. 335. Alexis Rouart was the younger brother of the Impressionism collector and artist Henri Rouart (1833-1912). 2. Achille Segard, Un peintre des enfants et des mères: Mary Cassatt (Paris, 1913), p. 168, n. 1, lists the current owner as Louis Rouart. Alexis had a nephew named Louis, and a son named Louis-Henry; it is unclear which Segard meant (verbal communication from Pamela A. Ivinski, August 10, 2011). 3. Published as the collection of Henri Rouart (also spelled Henry) in 1929 and 1934. In 1943 the painting was lent to a Galerie Charpentier exhibition entitled "Scènes et figures parisiennes," (no. 45) possibly by Mme Henri Rouart. In 1950 the painting appeared in another Galerie Charpentier exhibition, "Cent portraits de femmes" (no. 12). In neither catalogue is a lender noted, but Mme Henri Rouart is thanked in the opening of the 1943 catalogue. 4. Frederick A. Sweet, who organized the 1954 Chicago exhibition, described seeing the painting in Midy's Paris apartment in 1953; see Sweet, "Assembling an International Exhibition," The Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly, vol. 48, February-March 1954, p. 2, and letter from Sweet to Adelyn Breeskin, October 27, 1966 (copy in curatorial file). Midy is also listed as the owner in Sweet, Miss Mary Cassatt: Impressionist from Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, 1966, p. 137 (illus. color pl. 2 as "private collection, Paris"). 5. Information from 1977 Dorrance Wright estate inventory by Carroll Hogan (registrar file).
  • Physical Dimensions: 32 x 23 1/2 inches (81.3 x 59.7 cm)
  • Artist/Maker: Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American, 1844 - 1926
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Bequest of Charlotte Dorrance Wright, 1978, © 2011 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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