About this artwork
During her early Impressionist period, Mary Cassatt frequently captured the activities of middle- and upper-class women in society—at the theater or taking tea, for example. On a Balcony, which was shown in the 1880 Impressionist exhibition, appears to depict a woman in a public setting. However, the blue rail of the balcony, visible near the top of the painting, defines the enclosed space of a private garden, and the woman’s morning dress further indicates the intimacy of her location. Cassatt signaled the modernity of her subject through the woman’s choice of reading material: she peruses a newspaper rather than a novel, demonstrating that even at home, Cassatt’s subjects are connected to the contemporary world.
- Mary Cassatt
- On a Balcony
- c. 1878–1879
- Oil on canvas
- Signed lower left: "Mary Cassatt"
- 89.9 × 65.2 cm (35 1/2 × 25 5/8 in.)
- Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge in memory of her aunt, Delia Spencer Field