Tessa, Mary Painted Her Mother

mrs robert s cassatt

Mary Cassatt, Mrs Robert S. Cassatt (1889)

It was a guy thing. Beer, bravado,
and how they owned women.
Women behaved like vases. Lily,
what happened to her before she
turned to prayer.

But Mary wanted to be an artist.
The seeds were planted, part of
ancestry. Building a shrine to art
so she never married. Her dad thought
it was shameful.

And there she was, my mother deep
in thought. White cloak over black
dress. Unlike Millicent’s mom
wringing hands having lost memory.
Mom–my rock.

Prompt: Mary Cassatt was an American who moved to Paris, into the circle of Edgar Degas with whom she worked closely for a period. Eleven of her art works were exhibited together with the Impressionists in 1879. In her later work, she made numerous mother and child paintings. Her mother, Katherine Kelso Johnston, was an educated and well-read woman who was a major influence in her life. In this painting, Mary had captured her mother in a contemplative mode.


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