On a Balcony

On a Balcony, 1878/79
Mary Cassatt, American, 1844-1926
Oil on canvas, 89.9 x 65.2 cm (35 1/2 x 25 5/8 in.)
Signed lower left: "Mary Cassatt"
Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge in memory of her aunt, Delia Spencer Field, ARTIC #1938.18
Photo © Joan Ann Lansberry

(From info card)
"During Mary Cassatt's early Impressionist period, she frequently focused on the activities of middle-class women in society—at the theater or taking tea, for example. At first glance, the arresting painting On a Balcony, which was shown in the 1880 Impressionist exhibition, appears to depict a woman in a public setting. However, the blue rail of the balcony, visible near the top of the painting, defines the enclosed space of a private garden, while the woman's morning dress further indicates the intimacy of her location. Cassatt signaled the modernity of her subject through the woman's choice of reading material; she peruses a newspaper rather than a novel. Even at home Cassatt's subjects are connected to the contemporary world, not lost in a fictional fantasy."

Detail of lady reading...