Morning WC by Mary Cassatt

Morning WC by Mary Cassatt

When in 1917 after the death of Edgar Degas his paintings were put up for auction, among them was this small canvas Cassatt, which was initially taken for the work of the artist himself. Needless to say, Cassatt was flattered by this misunderstanding. Degas almost begged her for this job, seeing her at the eighth exhibition of the Impressionists in 1886.

According to the master himself, it was written “in a completely unthinkable, impossible for the woman manner.” One can understand both the error of the auctioneers, and Degas’ delight. Indeed, the “Morning Toilet” Cassatt is

more than any of her other paintings similar to the work of her friend and teacher.

The theme of the woman occupied by the toilet attracted Degas from the beginning of the 1880s. The same theme was developed by Mary Cassatt – but in a different way. If Edgar Degas, when portraying his “bathers”, openly declared that he wanted to “reduce a woman to the level of an animal licking his fur”, Cassatt writes the heroines of his “toilet works” warmly and with sympathy.

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