Mary Cassatt was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on May 22nd, 1844. In 1851, Cassatt’s family moved to Paris for four years but they later moved back to Pennsylvania. Growing up, Cassatt was very interested in art and she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for four years. After, Mary worked at Charles Chaplin’s studio and studied different paintings. In 1872, she went to Italy and studied Renaissance artworks and developed her skills. Mary Cassatt painted traditional style paintings. In 1874, her artworks interested Degas because her work was considered “real.” Mary became passionate about the Impressionist Movement. Later, she was invited to join the Impressionists. Mary became more confident of her artworks because it was rare for women to be recognized for their talents during that time. Mary Cassatt’s artworks focused on women and family environments. She painted women in their motherly and protective roles. Also, she painted the literate side of women to show their intellectual abilities and cleverness in the society (Jennings).
The Boating Party was one of her famous paintings that depicted the motherly and protective role. The Boating Party was painted in Antibes, France in 1893 to 1894 (Powell III). Her inspiration for this painting was from Japanese woodcuts she came across at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Edouard Manet’s Boating (Powell III). The high horizon, placement of the people, and the patterns and shapes of the background shows Japanese art techniques. The close view and the boat’s end cut off on the side were done that way similar to Japanese woodcuts (Powell III). The colors and brushworks she used are post-impressionist. The boatman and the woman carrying the child are bigger in contrast to the background. The view of the painting makes the audience seem like they’re part of the painting. The sail, the oar and the bow of the boat are pointing in the direction of the baby. The mother is holding the baby tightly on her lap which shows the care she has for her child and protection from falling into the water or any kind of danger. Mary Cassatt’s artworks show the love and protection of mothers have for their children.