Child with a Parrot

Date 1890
Technique Drypoint
Price $4,800.00
Exhibitor Armstrong Fine Art
Contact the Exhibitor 312.404.2004
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Hélène of Septeuil or Enfant au Perroquet

Drypoint on laid Van Gelder paper, c. 1890.

Reference: Breeskin 134. Very likely a fourth state of five, before shading in the hair, the child's sleeve and the parrot's wing. Scarce in all states; particularly so in this one.

This print depicts an innkeeper and her daughter Hélène in Septeuil, to the west of Paris, where Cassatt resided one summer. The self-abnegation of a mother for her child is accentuated by the choice to allow the child's arm to obstruct our view of her mother's face.
Still, Cassatt chose to show the mother's eyes, looking into the distance, as she helps her toddler learn to stand. While never a mother, Mary Cassatt clearly engaged deeply with what it meant emotionally to be a mother.
Notice that, while the child's body is fully outlined, the mother is only the top half of her face, one hand, and the curve of one leg… This is a very unorthodox and innovative composition for its time.