Born on May 22, 1844, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Mary Cassatt was one of the leading artists in the Impressionist movement of the later part of the 1800s.
Mary Cassatt started formal training as a painter in 1861. In 1865, she took her first trip to Europe, where she would remain for the next four years. In 1868, her painting A Mandolin Player became her first work to be accepted by the Paris Salon, the official art exhibition of the Academie des Beaux-Arts.
Edgar Degas came across Cassatt's work at the Salon, and in 1877 he asked her to exhibit with the Impressionists. Cassatt's subject matter and painting style changed greatly because of her association with Impressionism. She left behind colorful costume genre depictions in favor of scenes from contemporary life.
During the latter half of the 1880s, Cassatt created etchings and drypoints of her family members. Her declining eyesight stood in the way of her art towards the end of her life, but becuase she had been a particularly prolific printmaker, she produced more than 220 prints throughout her career.