543 (Breeskin 1005)
Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Child (Profile Left) (No. 4)
Alternate title(s): Baby John Nursing; Mother Jeanne Nursing; Mother Nursing Her Baby
c. 1908
Pastel on canvas
32 x 25 1/2 in. (81.28 x 64.77 cm)
Inscribed lower right: Mary Cassatt
Last known in a private collection, 1985

provenance / ownership history
Marie-Thérèse (Mme Francis) de Croisset, Grasse, France
to her grandson Charles de Croisset, by descent; did not sell when offered at Parke-Bernet, New York, October 21, 1971, #79, as Baby John Nursing
to Reed Erickson, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1971
to Maxwell Davidson III, New York, c. 1981
Sotheby's, New York, May 18, 1983, #39A, ill., as Baby John Nursing
private collection, by 1985

exhibition history
1985 Phila Museum: #32, ill., as Mother Nursing Her Baby, lent by private collection

published references
Lindsay 1985: p. 77, ill., as Mother Nursing Her Baby


When Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Child (Profile Left) (No. 4) was sold at Parke-Bernet in 1971, the catalogue listed the only previous owner as "Marie de Noaille, Paris." Likely this refers to Viscountess Marie-Laure de Noailles (1902–1970), a Parisian socialite and important patron of the Surrealists. Additional research, however, suggests that the work was most likely first owned by her mother, Marie-Thérèse de Croisset (1880–1963) of Grasse, France. Born Marie-Thérèse de Chevigné, Mme de Croisset was a descendant of the Marquis de Sade and married Maurice Jonathan Bischoffsheim, a banker. Their daughter Marie-Laure (later de Noailles) was born two years before Bischoffsheim's death in 1904. Marie-Thérèse then married Francis de Croisset, a popular Parisian dramatist of Belgian descent. With de Croisset, Marie-Thérèse bore two more children, Philippe and Germaine. Mme de Croisset knew Cassatt. In fact, the artist's home in Grasse, the Villa Angeletto, is located on the avenue Francis de Croisset.

In 1966, Cassatt researcher Pierre Bisset wrote to Adelyn Dohme Breeskin and described the work now known as Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Child (Profile Left) (No. 4) as being in the collection of Mme Francis de Croisset of Grasse, France.[1] Then, in a letter written in 1970, Mme Charles de Croisset informed Breeskin that her husband had inherited the pastel from his grandmother, who was Marie-Thérèse (Mme Francis) de Croisset.[2]

Reed Erickson (1917–1992), who purchased Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Child (Profile Left) (No. 4) from Charles de Croisset, was born Rita Alma Erickson in El Paso, Texas. Rita became the first woman graduate of the school of mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University and worked in the field until inheriting her father's lead smelting business in 1963, which she ran for some years. In 1964, she began living as a man and went through a sex change in 1965, becoming Reed Erickson and setting legal precedent in the state of Louisiana with this name change. Erickson founded the Erickson Educational Foundation for the purpose of promoting the recognition and understanding of transsexualism.

The Breeskin catalogue raisonné (1970) contained only 943 works. All Breeskin numbers above 943 listed on this site were created by the Mary Cassatt Catalogue Raisonné Committee for record-keeping purposes and do not correspond to works in the Breeskin catalogue.


[1] Pierre Bisset to Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, September 21, 1966; in Breeskin archive, Mary Cassatt Catalogue Raisonné Committee, Adelson Galleries, New York, N.Y. Bisset apparently was unaware that Mme de Croisset had passed away in 1963.

[2] Mme Charles de Croisset to Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, March 4, 1970; in Breeskin archive, Mary Cassatt Catalogue Raisonné Committee, Adelson Galleries, New York, N.Y.

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