Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt, Lydia Reading, Turned toward Right, circa 1881,

Lydia Reading, Turned toward Right

Breeskin 63

soft-ground etching with aquatint, circa 1881, the second state (of II), a superb impression, signed below, center right, in pencil by the artist, on fine cream laid paper with the Vanderley watermark, with full margins, deckle edges above, below and right, slight vertical press-rippling over the image surface, four old glue-dot mounts in each corner, verso, otherwise in quite excellent condition

A rare impression of this atmospheric print, backlighting her older sister in an armchair against a finely draped window, with a prestigious provenance: Ambroise Vollard (apparently acquired from Ms. Cassatt directly*) and subsequently H. M. Petiet

P. 179x109mm., S. 352x214mm.

Provenance: Ambroise Vollard (acquired directly from the artist), H. M. Petiet

The present impression of this fine print is quite rare insofar as there does not appear to have been an edition per se, and we have identified only six other impressions

In Paris, there is an impression in the Petit Palais (, which is also illustrated in the Musée d'Orsay catalogue, Mary Cassatt: Les Dossiers du Musée d'Orsay 21, Paris, 1988, page 31, though it is not held in the collections at the Bibliothèque Nationale.

In American collections, there need be cited the impression in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York:

as well as that of the Library of Congress (identical to our impression, also printed on Vanderley with an equivalent late signature):

and the Colby Museum of Art, Waterville Maine:

One impression of an intermediate state was included in Mary Cassatt: Prints and Drawings from the Artist's Studio  (Adelson et al., Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 2000

The only impression we have seen on auction in the past 25 years, printed somewhat darker, and unsigned, on a wove paper, from the Hartshorne Collection, was sold at Christie's New York, on October 30, 2007:

Lydia Cassatt came to Paris in 1874 to live with her sister, and they were together until 1882 when Lydia succumbed to Bright’s disease, the former medical term for various forms of nephritis. Mary Cassatt was deeply transformed by the loss, and, this exceptional print is a fitting tribute to her dear sister.  There is also an acclaimed novel that relates Lydia's life experience with Mary:

Lydia also sat for many of Mary Cassatt's pictures and prints over the period, and this print exemplifies an intimate view of her daily life, in dignified resignation.  Impressionistic in its refined treatment of light and shade, rendered in dramatic counterpoint with various gradations of aquatint, Lydia Reading, turned toward Right is , in our opinion, one of Mary Cassatt's most compelling prints

*In the catalogue Mary Cassatt: Prints and Drawings from the Artist's Studio  (Adelson et al., Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 2000), Warren Adelson discusses in the Foreword (pp. 9-11) Ambroise Vollard's acqusition of the Artist's Studio prints between 1904 and 1906, which he kept for years until his untimely death.  From this collection, there is furthermore an impression of this print, in an intermediate state, illustrated on page 37.