THE FOREST GREEN: Mary Cassatt, do I know you?:Smithsonian part 2    
 Mary Cassatt, do I know you?:Smithsonian part 25 comments
picture Tuesday, August 10th 2004, by Marissa A Spencer

Smithsonian: Part 2

By Marissa A Spencer

In the late summer of 1999, the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C. were done falling. I put my backpack on and grabbed a cab to go to the Smithsonian. I had dreamed for years of visiting it. I had no preconceived notions and was open to anything I could learn. Had I been guided to this place at this time? One could argue that, when you think about the events that transpired.

Fine art has always been a tremendous love of mine. Being an artist of sorts myself, only made me admire the skill and inspiration that manifested on those canvas before me. Everything in Washington seems super-sized. The steps leading up to the National Art Gallery are quite impressive. A large banner stood there on the side beside the entryway. Mary Cassatt.

She had a special exhibition going there. She was one of the first woman painters to be recognized as a painter…not just a woman painter. She was in the era of the Impressionists. Her work was and is lovely and truly evocative of great feeling and intimacy. Before going to Washington, I really didn’t know much at all about her.


A small frisson went up my spine and I gazed high into the sun at the huge building. I took a deep breath and started up the steps. I could tell by the tingling inside me that this would not be an ordinary visit. I went slowly, trying to get bearings on what I was sensing. To the immediate left after entering the gallery, there is a small room for special exhibits. There were a fair number of people inside, but not so many that I felt uncomfortable. I walked in.

On all the walls, there were her works; lovely, soft, warm paintings of ordinary home life. All were brought into focus with such clarity as a pause in time. I walked slowly, enraptured, touched, and bemused. I felt like I had stepped out of reality, like an onlooker on a played out scene on a stage. I did not even feel like I was walking on the same plane as everyone else in the room. I felt as though, my feet were a few feet above the floor. The tingling I felt, was like I was standing on a Tesla static machine. Even now, years later, I can feel it all over again.

I walked out of there, totally mystified. I knew almost nothing of the woman. I could not figure out why there was some connection between her and I. The rest of the gallery was wonderful, but not especially memorable. Mary Cassatt was etched into my soul. I would have bought the wonderful book they had for sale about her, but it was too costly. I promised myself I would buy a biography when I got home. Eventually anyway.

I walked into the warm sunshine, still chilled by energy from another time. It was time to go to the Natural History museum. Perhaps some moldy fossils or pretty minerals would dispel the haunted feeling that I could not shake. I always wanted to see the Hope Diamond.

I thought my adventures quite ended, but I was very mistaken.

© August 9, 2004 Marissa A Spencer




11 Aug 2004 @ 04:53 by spiritseek : why the tingling?
Have you found out anything more of the lady? Perhaps your connected to her some how,a past life maybe? Have you looked her up on the internet?
An American painter and printmaker born in 1845 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Mary Cassatt spent 5 years as a child in Paris. After studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1865-1866) she returned to paint in Italy. She exhibited with the Impressionists between 1877-1886. Cassatt admired the Realist Courbet and the Impressionist Manet but was mainly influenced by her friend Degas, who also represented her in his own scenes. As a wealthy expatriate, she had the means to devote herself to her art and used her domestic life as subject matter. She painted fashionable women who were conversing, having tea, and at outings with friends and their children. Her pictures are characterized by a spontaneity and freshness of vision which prevails in the asymmetrical and unposed figures of her oil paintings. Her drawings and prints show a personal mastery of linearism and perspective that owed much to Degas and Oriental Art. She died in 1926 in France.  

11 Aug 2004 @ 11:05 by skookum : oh yes.. more story to come
the story gets better  

11 Aug 2004 @ 13:39 by spiritseek : the pic above
resembles you I think,what do you think?  

11 Aug 2004 @ 14:35 by skookum : ya.. a bit lol
it does.. though it was just one I grabbed...  

14 Aug 2004 @ 19:06 by Arjun gupta @ : impressive
You did a marvelous job ,cogratulation.  

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Other entries in
Friday, October 19th 2007: Mother's Last Gift
Saturday, March 3rd 2007: Parable of the Rock
Saturday, March 5th 2005: My California Childhood
Monday, August 23rd 2004: The Parable of the Mimosa and Crabapple
Sunday, August 15th 2004: Mary and Jane, are you my friends? Smithsonian part 5
Saturday, August 14th 2004: Going Into the Past: Smithsonian part 4
Friday, August 13th 2004: More pictures
Friday, August 13th 2004: Natural History Museum:Smithsonian part 3
Wednesday, July 21st 2004: FORD THEATER AND ME: Smithsonian Part 1
Friday, May 7th 2004: Cloudy’s Contribution

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