The Boating Party, 1893—94
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Chester Dale Collection
oil on canvas
Mary Cassatt painted this work during a stay at Antibes, on the Mediterranean coast of France in the winter of 1893/1894. While the intense light and vibrant color owe much to the locale, the composition was inspired by the flat, patterned surfaces and unusual angles of Japanese prints. The seated man compresses the picture onto the flat plane of the canvas, and the horizon is pushed upward, collapsing any sense of distance. A higher vantage point provides a diagonal view into the boat, whose form is divided into a series of decorative shapes. This painting was the centerpiece of Cassatt's first solo exhibition in the United States in 1895.