Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Artists in Today’s World ~ Mary Cassatt

Acknowledging Mary (Cassatt)

I loved Degas and Cezanne and everything he stood for and, of course, Pissarro. But lurking behind art and color and life, I sensed the heavy hand of my mother’s side of the family. Father was a stockbroker and dabbled in land but mother’s side came from banking.

In Paris when I sold my first painting and as the Impressionists gained a foothold, I realized that a certain type of buyer possessed the power to drive values upward. At first, I thought this surge would favor the artist. With higher proceeds, we could devote greater effort to our work. We could experience freedom from everyday constraints.

Little did I know, though I suspected, that art would become a business, that freedom would escape us, that we would become slaves to credit and to that certain type of buyer.

Pity mother’s side of the family.

~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


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