About This Artwork

Mary Cassatt
American, 1844–1926

The Child's Bath, 1893

Oil on canvas
100.3 x 66.1 cm (39 1/2 x 26 in.)
Signed lower left: "Mary Cassatt"

Robert A. Waller Fund, 1910.2

The only American artist to exhibit her work with the French Impressionists, Mary Cassatt was first invited to show with the group by Edgar Degas in 1877. By that time, she had become disenchanted with traditional academic painting. Like her friend Degas, Cassatt concentrated on the human figure in her Impressionist works, particularly on sensitive yet unsentimental portrayals of women and children. The Child’s Bath, with its striking and unorthodox composition, is one of Cassatt’s masterworks. In it she employed unconventional devices such as cropped forms, bold patterns and outlines, and a flattened perspective, all of which derived from her study of Japanese woodblock prints. The lively patterns play off one another and serve to accentuate the nakedness of the child, whose vulnerable white legs are as straight as the lines of the woman’s striped dress. The elevated vantage point permits the viewer to observe, but not participate in, this most intimate scene. Cassatt’s composition thereby reinforces her subject: the tender absorption of a woman with a child.

— Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 40.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Exposition de Tableaux, Pastels et Gravures de Mary Cassatt, Nov.-Dec. 1893, cat. 1, as La Toilette de l’Enfant.

New York City, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exposition of Paintings, Pastels and Etchings by Miss Mary Cassatt, Apr. 16-30, 1895, cat. 21, as La Toilette.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Sixty-Seventh Annual Exhibition, Jan. 10-Feb. 22, 1898, cat. 62, as The Toilet, lent by Messrs. Durand-Ruel and Sons.

Cincinnati Museum Association, Seventh Annual Exhibition of American Art in the Art Museum, May 19-July 9, 1900, cat. 13, as La Toilette, lent by M. Durand-Ruel, New York.

New York City, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings and Pastels by Mary Cassatt, Nov. 5-21, 1903, cat. 6, as La Toilette.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Inaugural Exhibition, Jan. 7-Feb. 7, 1915, cat. 151, as The Toilet.

Art Institute of Chicago, Memorial Collection of the Works of Mary Cassatt, Dec. 21, 1926-Jan. 24, 1927, cat. 29, as The Toilet.

Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, A Memorial Exhibition of the Work of Mary Cassatt, Mar. 15-Apr. 15, 1928, cat. 38 or 39, as The Toilet.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Survey of American Art, July 21-Oct. 9, 1932, as La Toilette.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Exhibition of American Painting from 1860 until Today, June 23-Oct. 4, 1937, cat. 27, as The Toilet.

Brooklyn Museum, Leaders of American Impressionism: Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, John H. Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Oct. 1937, cat. 22, as La Toilette.

New York City, Museum of Modern Art, Art in Our Time, May 1-Sept. 25, 1939, cat. 48, as The Toilet.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, Painting Today and Yesterday in the United States, June 5-Sept. 1, 1941, cat. 23, as La Toilette.

Baltimore Museum of Art, Mary Cassatt, Nov. 28, 1941-Jan. 11, 1942, cat. 25, as The Toilet.

New York City, Wildenstein Company, Oct. 29-Dec. 6, 1947, A Loan Exhibition of Mary Cassatt for the Benefit of the Goddard Neighborhood Center, cat. 25, p. 32, as The Toilet.

Des Moines Art Center, June-July, 1948, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European and American Art, cat. 16, as La Toilette.

Springfield, Mass., Museum of Fine Arts, Fifteen Fine Paintings, Oct. 7-Nov. 7, 1948, no cat., as La Toilette.

New York City, Wildenstein and Company, Landmarks in American Art, 1670-1950, Feb. 26-Mar. 28, 1953, cat. 38, as La Toilette.

Art Institute of Chicago, Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt, Jan. 14-Feb. 25, 1954, cat. 19, as The Bath.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, Apr. 22-May 3, 1956, cat. 119, as The Bath.

Milwaukee, Brooks Memorial Union, Marquette University, Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Exhibition, Festival of the American Arts, Apr. 22-May 3, cat. 12, as The Bath.

Detroit Institute of Arts, Painting in America, The Story of 450 Years, Apr. 23-June 9, 1957, cat. 122, as The Bath.

New York City, M. Knoedler and Company, The Paintings of Mary Cassatt, Feb. 1-26, 1966, cat. 21, as The Bath.

New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art of the United States: 1670-1966, Sept. 28-Nov. 27, 1966, cat. 39, as The Bath.

Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, Mary Cassatt Among the Impressionists, Apr. 10-June 1, 1978, cat. 4, as The Bath (La Toilette).

New York City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nineteenth-Century America: Paintings and Sculpture, Apr. 16-Sept. 7, 1970, cat. 169, as La Toilette.

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Mary Cassatt, 1844-1926, Sept. 27-Nov. 8, 1970, cat. 49, as The Bath.

Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Mary Cassatt 1844-1926, Dec. 12, 1973-Jan. 20, 1974, cat. 7, ill., as The Bath.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mary Cassatt at Home, Aug. 5-Sept. 24, 1978, cat. 19, as The Bath.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, A New World, Masterpieces of American Painting, 1790-1910, Sept. 7-Nov. 13, 1983, cat. 94; traveled to Washington, D.C., Corcoran Art Gallery, Dec. 7, 1983-Feb. 12, 1984, Paris, Grand Palais, Mar. 16, 1984-June 11, 1984.

Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum, American Painters of Modern Life, Aug. 22-Oct. 30, 1994; traveled to New York City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 2-July 24, 1994, Denver Art Museum, Nov. 28, 1994-Feb. 5, 1995, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mar. 6-May 14, 1995.

Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, On View to the World: Paintings at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, May 30-Sept. 6, 1998.

Art Institute of Chicago, Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, Oct. 13, 1998-Jan. 10, 1999, cat. 72; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Feb. 14-May 9, 1999, National Gallery, Washington D.C., June 6-Sept. 6, 1999.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, "American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915," October 12, 2009-January 24, 2010; traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, February 28-May 23, 2010.

Paris, Musee d'Orsay, "Paul Durand-Ruel: Defender of the Impressionists," October 15, 2014-February 8, 2015; traveled to London, National Gallery, March 4-May 31, 2015; Philadelphia Museum of Art, June 18-September 13, 2015, cat. 4.

Publication History

Maud Howe Elliot, ed., Art and Handicraft in the Woman’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893).

New York Times, Mar. 5, 1895, Supplement, p. 158, col. 2.

“Pictures by Mary Cassatt at Durand-Ruel,” New York Times, May 18, 1895.

“In the World of Art, Cassatt at Durand-Ruel,” New York Times, May 21, 1895, p. 13, col. 13.

Brush & Pencil, 6 (July 1900), p. 182, no. 183.

Sadakichi Hartman. A History of American Art, (Boston: L.C. Page and Company, 1901), vol. 2, p. 188, as The Toilet.

“The Cassatt Oils and Pastels at Durand-Ruel,” New York Times, Nov. 6, 1903, p. 7, col. 1.

Wynford Dewhurst, Impressionist Painting, Its Genesis and Development (London, 1904), pp. 75-77.

Brush and Pencil 15 (Mar.1905), p. 165, as The Toilet.

“Miss Cassatt’s ‘Triumphs of Uncomeliness,’” New York Times, Aug. 25, 1907, Section V, p. 8, col. 1.

Minutes Book of the Art Committee Meeting of Jan. 15, 1910, pp. 45-46.

“Paintings by Miss Cassatt,” New York Times, Mar. 6, 1910, Section III, p. 2, col.5.

The Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 3 (1910), p. 61.

General Catalogue of Objects in the Museum, 287 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1910), p. 188.

Achille Segard, Mary Cassatt, un Peintre des Enfants et des Meres, (Paris, Librairie Ollendorff, 1913), p. 52.

General Catalogue of Objects in the Museum 287 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1913), p. 130.

Handbook of Paintings and Drawings (Art Institute of Chicago, 1920), p. 50, cat. 507.

Handbook of Paintings and Drawings (Art Institute of Chicago, 1922), p. 54, cat. 507.

Handbook of Paintings and Drawings (Art Institute of Chicago, 1923), p. 54, cat. 507.

Guide to Paintings of the Permanent Collection (Art Institute of Chicago, 1925), p. 93 (ill.).

New York Times, June 27, 1926, Section IV, p. 14, col. 1.

New York Times, June 16, 1927, p. 25, col. 3. Obituary.

Edith Valerio, Mary Cassatt, (Paris: Editions G. Cres & Cie, 1930), no. 5.

Forbes Watson, Mary Cassatt, (Whitney Museum of Art, American Artists Series, 1932. La Toilette, ill. pl. 77.

Guide to Paintings of the Permanent Collection (Art Institute of Chicago, 1932), p. 93 (ill.).

The Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 27 (1933), p. 118.

Magazine of Art, 34 (June 1941), p. 295 (ill.).

“Paintings in the United States and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art,” Apollo, 34 (Sept. 1941), pp. 55-58.

“The Toilet,” Art Digest 16 (Dec. 15, 1941), pp. 8-9, ill. cover.

Time Magazine, Dec. 14, 1941, ill. as Mother and Child.

Pictures on Exhibit 5 (Dec. 1941), p. 2 (ill.), as La Toilette.

Life 12 (Jan. 19, 1942), pp. 54-56 (ill.).

John Walker et al., Great American Paintings from Smibert to Bellows, 1729-1924, (Oxford University Press, 1943), pl. 77.

Margaret Breunig, Mary Cassatt, (Hyperion Press, 1944), p. 69 (ill.).

Edward Alden Jewell, French Impressionists, (Hyperion Press, Random House, 1944), pl. 89.

Emporium 101 (Jan. 1945), p. 33 (ill.).

Art Digest (Nov. 15, 1947).

Emporium 107 (Feb. 1948), p. 88 (ill.).

James Thomas Flaexner, A Short History of American Painting, (Mifflin Company, 1950), pl. 26.

The Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 48 (Feb. 1954), p. 4-8 (ill.).

Revista de Arte 5 (Mar./Apr. 1955), p. 286, no. 3 (ill.).

Daniel M. Mendelowitz, A History of American Art, (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1960), p. 451, pl. 16B.

Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 69, no. 369.

The Pocket History of American Painting (New York, 1962), pl. 26.

American Artists, 26 (Jan. 1962), p. 54 (ill.).

Julia M. H. Carlson, Mary Cassatt (McKay Company, Inc., 1966), p. 89 (ill.).

Samuel M. Green, American Art, A Historical Survey (Ronald Press, 1966), p. 384 (ill.).

Frederick Sweet, Miss Mary Cassatt, Impressionist from Pennsylvania (University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), p. 156 (ill.).

Frederick Sweet, “Paintings and Pastels by Mary Cassatt,” Museum Studies 2 (1967), pp. 33-49, fig. 7.

Richard McLanathan, The American Tradition in the Arts (Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1968), p. 332 (ill.).

James Thomas Flaexner, Nineteenth Century American Painting (Putnam’s Sons, 1970), p. 240 (ill.).

Russell Lynes, The Art Makers of Nineteenth Century America (Atheneum, 1970), p. 445 (ill.).

John E. Bullard, Mary Cassatt, Oils and Pastels (National Gallery of Art/Watson-Guptil Publications, 1972), pl. 16.

Donelson Hoopes, The American Impressionists (Watson-Guptil Publication, 1972), p. 37 (ill.).

"The Vincent Price Treasury of American Art," Country Beautiful (1972), p. 169 (ill.).

E. John Bullard, “An American in Paris,” American Artist (Mar. 1973), pp. 40-47.

“American Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Part II: The Nineteenth Century,” Magazine Antiques (Nov. 1973), p. 904 (ill.).

Nancy Hale, Mary Cassatt (Doubleday and Company, 1975), p. 192 (ill.).

Milton W. Brown, American Art to 1900 (Abrams, 1977), p. 569, pl. 67.

Guy Hubbard and Mary J. Rouse, Art: Choosing and Expressing (Benefic Press, 1977), p. 37 (ill.).

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (Thames and Hudson, 1970), p. 104-05 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago: One Hundred Masterpieces, (Art Institute of Chicago/Rand McNally and Company, 1978), pl. 115.

Jay Roudebush, Mary Cassatt, (Crown Publishers, 1979), p. 49 (ill.).

Chicago Historical Society, “The Collections,” Chicago History, 9, 1 (Spring 1979), pp. 34-36 (ill.).

Pocketguide to The Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1983), p. 38, no. 52.

William H. Gerdts, American Impressionism, (Abbeville Press, 1984), p. 43, no. 29.

Milo M. Naeve, “The Edwardian Era and Patrons of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago: The Birth of a Tradition,” America’s International Exposition of Fine Arts and Antiques (Lakeside Group, 1988), p. 23, fig. 5.

Tom Armstrong, “The New Field-McCormick Galleries in the Art Institute of Chicago,” Magazine Antiques 134, 4 (Oct. 1988), pp. 822-35, pl. XIV.

Master Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Little, Brown, and Company, 1988) p. 99 (ill.).

Lita Solis-Cohen, “Chicago Shows Off—Tastefully,” Maine Antique Digest (Dec. 1988), pp. 12B-15B (ill.).

“Tempo Women,” Chicago Tribune, Sec. 6C, Apr. 21, 1991, p. 7 (ill.).

Mahonri Sharp-Young, American Realists, Homer to Hopper (Watson-Guptill, 1977), n.pag. (ill.).

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 262-65, no. 1893.

Judith A. Barter et al, The Age of American Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2011), no. 24.

Thomas J. Bussey, "What Can Biochemistry Students Learn About Protein Translation? Using Variation Theory to Explore the Space of Learning Created by Some Common External Representations" (PH. D. diss., University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2013). pp. 9-10, fig. 5.

Ken Johnson, "Paul Durand-Ruel, the Paris Dealer Who Put Impressionism on the Map," New York Times, July 22, 2015 (ill.).

"Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Highlights of the Collection," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017) p. 78.

Ownership History

The artist; sold to Durand-Ruel, Paris, November 24, 1893 [Paris 2015]; sold to Harris Whittemore, Connecticut, January 17, 1894 [Paris 2015]; sold by him back to Durand-Ruel, New York, February 4, 1899 [Paris 2015]; sold to the Art Institute, 1910.

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