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The Letter

Print of a woman in a blue, patterned dress, seated at a desk and licking an envelope closed.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Print of a woman in a blue, patterned dress, seated at a desk and licking an envelope closed.




Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926)
printed with Leroy (French, active 1876-1900)

About this artwork

Mary Cassatt began a series of color prints in 1890 that exemplify her indebtedness to Japanese color woodblock prints and her thematic focus on figures in interiors. In The Letter, Cassatt used the patterns of the woman’s dress and wallpaper as well as vibrant printing inks to manipulate space and formal elements inspired by Japanese art. The subject matter reflects the artist’s focus on women indoors because contemporary social mores restricted their activities outside the home.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Mary Cassatt


The Letter


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Color aquatint with drypoint, from three plates, on off-white laid paper


Inscribed recto, lower right, below image, in graphite: "Imprim[ée] par l'artiste et Mr. Leroy / Mary Cassatt / (25 épreuves)"


Image/plate: 34.5 × 21.1 cm (13 5/8 × 8 5/16 in.); Sheet: 43.7 × 29.7 cm (17 1/4 × 11 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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