Mother, Sara, and the Baby by Mary Cassatt
PARIS – There is no known record of the American artist Mary Cassatt giving Edgar Degas a good slap. But in the half-century the two were friends, there must have been times when she was tempted to take a swing at the French painter.
“I don’t believe that a woman can draw that well,” Degas told her in 1892, taken aback by her painting Young Women Gathering Fruit.
On another occasion standing before one of her Japanese-style prints, he asked in disbelief, “Did you really do this?” To top it all, Degas painted a “repulsive” portrait of his young friend — a picture that left her so furious she painted a riposte. The sparky relationship between the pair is at the centre of the first major retrospective of Cassatt’s work in Paris.