The Van Gogh Museum has acquired four rare prints by the American artist Mary Cassatt for its collection. Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was part of the first generation of Impressionists, and was a contemporary of Vincent van Gogh. The new acquisitions – three large colour etchings and a singular lithograph in black – are considered highlights of her oeuvre. Cassatt was far ahead of her time: her decision to use colour etchings was daring, and she was closely involved with the complex and time-consuming production process; Cassatt designed and printed most of the etchings herself.
Emilie Gordenker, General Director of the Van Gogh Museum: ‘We have been hoping to acquire important prints like these for many years, and are delighted to now be able to add them to our collection. We very grateful to the VriendenLoterij, the Mondriaan Fund, the Rembrandt Association as well as individual donors who make up the The Yellow House circle for financing these remarkable acquisitions in full’. The new prints will be exhibited on a dedicated wall in the permanent collection as soon as the museum reopens to the public.
With her Impressionistic paintings and drawings, Mary Cassatt was an innovative force in the late 19th-century Parisian art world. Cassatt was initially sceptical of printmaking, but in about 1879, she recognised the allure of graphic techniques – as did her contemporaries and colleagues Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro. The four acquired prints, which are in excellent condition, are counted among the finest graphic works produced in the fin de siècle. ‘Together with the series by Bonnard, Vuillard and Toulouse-Lautrec, these are without doubt the most successful colour prints ever produced’, wrote renowned critic Claude Roger-Marx in 1938.
The acquisition of the four artworks by Mary Cassatt was fully financed by the VriendenLoterij, the Mondriaan Fund, the Rembrandt Association (with the additional support of the Maljers-de Jongh Fund, the Liesbeth van Dorp Fund, the Marijke Laarhoven Fund and the Claude Monet Fund) and the members of The Yellow House.