“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” -Edgar Degas
The Degas/Cassatt exhibition curated by Kimberly A. Jones of the National Gallery of Art is a wonderful marriage of art, science and friendship. Both artists, Mary Cassatt’s and Edgar Degas’ artwork are on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC thru October 5, 2014. This exhibition perfectly demonstrates of how artists collaborate and coach each other, while still staying true to their own aesthetic. We also get to see their process of sketching and trying variations of poses and editing details until the final version is achieved. Cassatt’s “Little Girl in Blue Armchair” is vibrant, well executed, and invites us in. We are drawn in and allowed to wander the painting and create our own story.
The National Gallery of Art is an treasure trove of artworks, with multiple galleries to explore, children’s activity guides that really are engaging and are specific for each gallery room. Although the painting, “The Boating Party” by Mary Cassatt is not part of the special Degas/Cassatt Exhibition, the painting is on view in the Impressionism Gallery along with a few of her other works. This painting in person is amazing for its color palette, composition, and design. You are drawn in from across the room. You feel the wind at your back, the weight of the rower’s oar, and the sound of the water lapping with each churn of the oars. Cassatt brings us into this painting and commands our attention and senses. Maybe art is not what you see, but what you feel…
Cassatt stated that her first encounter with Degas’s art “changed my life,” while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt’s art for the first time, reputedly remarked, “there is someone who feels as I do.” It was this shared sensibility as much as Cassatt’s extraordinary talent that drew Degas’s attention. (Source: National Gallery of Art)