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.
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.
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.