Degas’ Circle: Mary Cassatt, 3 Prints perfected

The Eclectic Light Company

In April 1880, Edgar Degas withdrew from a major project in which he, Mary Cassatt, Pissarro, and others were to publish a joint print journal. Cassatt was naturally upset by this, and for a while her relationship with Degas cooled. She continued to develop her print-making, but her paintings moved on from her previous motifs of women at the theatre.

During the mid-1880s, Cassatt moved away from Impressionism, and concentrated on simpler work with emphasis on line and form. In her print-making, she seems to have worked hardest on developing her drypoint technique, and combining it with subsequent methods for incorporating colour.

Drypoint involves cutting the image into a plate, traditionally of copper, later of zinc, using a tool with a fine point of metal or diamond. Because using that tool, or needle, is similar to drawing, artists already very experienced in drawing normally find this quicker to master than…

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