Simone in a Blue Bonnet
Mary Cassatt, American, Simone in a Blue Bonnet, ca. 1903, Oil on canvas; 61 x 52.1 cm (24 x 20 1/2 inches), Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 60.095
Cassatt was one of the most advanced painters of her generation, the only American to participate in the French Impressionist exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s. Her models were often members of her household, whether in Paris or at her country house, the Château de Beaufresne in the nearby Oise region. Between 1903 and 1904, Cassatt made numerous pictures of a little girl named Simone in large, colorful bonnets. In this unfinished painting, she skillfully rendered the child’s face, then brushed in her hair and costume with thick strokes of paint. Although she partially sketched a dark background to project the figure forward, she elsewhere let the natural brightness of the bare canvas impart an overall light tonality.