8 (Breeskin 1065)
Head of a Spanish Girl
c. 1872
Oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 15 in. (46.35 x 38.1 cm)
Private collection

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to Richard S. Mason, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1872--73
to Jane Graham Mason and Mary Taylor Mason, his daughters, Germantown, Pennsylvania
private collection
to private collection, 1999, by bequest

exhibition history
no known exhibitions

published references
no known literary references


According to information recorded by Jane Graham Mason and Mary Taylor Mason in 1953, their father, Richard S. Mason (1837–1912) and his family spent the winter of 1872–73 in Spain, where they met Cassatt. When Mr. Mason admired Head of a Spanish Girl in the artist's studio, she disparaged the picture, likely thinking it a mere sketch, but eventually she presented it to him, stipulating (in the words of the Mason sisters), "You may have it but you must promise never to frame it."

Head of a Spanish Girl displays the new technique for painting flesh that Cassatt developed after arriving in Spain. Her short, dabbing strokes create volume more effectively than the longer, smooth lines that at times had a flattening effect in her earlier works. Though the color scheme of Head of a Spanish Girl is somewhat limited, as it was in the Parma pictures, the hues here are richer than those found in her earlier paintings; and the flowers, in particular, in the girl's headdress are more lushly painted than similar objects in previous works.

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.


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