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Mary Cassatt
The Caress
1902
oil
32 7/8 x 27 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William T. Evans



The only American to exhibit with the French impressionists, Mary Cassatt became known for her many paintings of mothers and children. Roughly patterned on Italian Renaissance paintings of Madonna, the Christ child, and John the Baptist, The Caress won prizes from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago. However, Cassatt refused both, sticking to her principles of “no jury, no medals, no awards,” in reaction against the jury system of the Paris Salon.