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Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American, 1844 - 1926

In December 1884, Alexander Cassatt and his son Robert paid a surprise visit to Paris to see Alexander’s parents and his sister, the painter Mary Cassatt. During the monthlong holiday, father and son sat for a tender double portrait that emphasizes their bond and physical resemblance. With similarly focused gazes, flushed cheeks, and black clothing that connects them in an embrace, parent and child are caught in a private moment.

Alexander Cassatt was a prominent American businessman who served as both first vice president and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, then one of the largest corporations in the world. By presenting her brother at home, Mary set aside his better-known public persona to focus instead on a model of fathering in the late nineteenth century.


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