Title:Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Paintings GalleryArtist:Edgar Degas Date:1879-1880Creation Place:Europe, FranceCredit Line:The Putnam Dana McMillan FundAccession Number:P.82.13
In 1865 Edgar Degas joined a group of artists, writers, critics, and collectors who met at Madame Desoye's famous shop, La Porte Chinoise, at 220 rue de Rivoli to discuss and admire Japanese art. The group included Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Émile Zola, Charles Baudelaire, Edouard Manet, James Tissot, James McNeill Whistler, and Felix Bracquemond. Degas knew many other important collectors of Japanese art, who opened their doors to him. He became a
collector himself and at the time of his death his studio held more than 100 ukiyo-e prints. Stylistically, Degas was most impressed by the subtle use of line, unusual organization of space, and unfamiliar foreshortening he found in Japanese art. Mary Cassatt at the Louvre is perhaps his most Japanese-inspired print. The narrow format and up-tilted background plane, the cropped column on the left, the unusual
off-center arrangement of the subjects, and the bird's-eye perspective combine to make this an extremely daring composition.