No regrets

Someone sent me a calendar with very nice reproductions of Impressionist paintings on it. August is a boating scene which I liked – I’m a big fan of Mary Cassatt.

Mother in the garden at Bellevue, Edouard Manet

Mother in the garden at Bellevue, Edouard Manet

But I realized a few days later it was actually Manet.

How could I confuse them? Easily, really. Cassatt is not only Manet’s equal, she is often a better painter.

But she’s a woman of course, and so takes second place.  Thinking about women artists, something struck me about all of them: Cassatt, Morisot, O’Keeffe – they all had men mentoring them, men who gave them status in the art world of their time. Without that, they’d probably be unknown.

Lydia seated in the garden with a dog in her lap, Mary Cassatt

Lydia seated in the garden with a dog in her lap, Mary Cassatt

In Cassatt’s case, it was Degas. They were very good friends and his admiration for her went a long way in securing her reputation.

Can a woman succeed without a male mentor? Perhaps, but it’s not likely.

And if you try to have it all – husband and children and career – the odds are even slimmer. No, you can’t have it all, but you can certainly try.

Looking back, I see now that you pay a price for the attempt.  But no, no regrets.

Yehuda reading, Galya Tarmu

Yehuda reading, Galya Tarmu

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