Exhibition: Degas/Cassatt Friendship

The friendship between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas is one of the few remaining mysteries of Impressionism. She was a wealthy, independent American suffragist who painted upper-class women tending children and taking in the opera; he was a Frenchman, a decade older, who spied on nudes in brothels and once said that women couldn’t understand style. Curators, mindful of the age difference and of Cassatt’s status as an expatriate living and working on Degas’s turf, have tended to show us a student-teacher relationship. So it’s refreshing to see, instead, a platonic power couple, as we do in “Degas/Cassatt” at the National Gallery. Pictured is Degas’ “Rehearsal at the Studio.”

Leave a Comment