1 (Breeskin 44)
The Young Bride
Alternate title(s): Jeune mariée (The Young Bride); La jeune mariée; La jeune mariée (The Young Bride)
c. 1866--67
Oil on canvas
34 3/4 x 27 1/2 in. (88.26 x 69.85 cm)
Inscribed upper left: M.C.; upper right: Mary Stevenson/Paris; lower left: partial signature visible
Montclair Art Museum; Gift of the Max Kade Foundation, 1958

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to Martha Gansloser (or Ganzloser) Röhrich, her chambermaid, 1907 (or 1909)
to Karl Loevenich, New York (through Brude?), 1953
Max Kade Foundation, New York
to the Montclair Art Museum, 1958

exhibition history
1876 De Sales: possibly in this exhibition, if this is the work described in the Philadelphia Press 1876 as Girl Knitting Lace
1961 Hirschl & Adler NY: no #, ill., as La jeune mariée
1995 Isetan Japan: #39, ill., as Jeune mariée (The Young Bride), lent by the Montclair Art Museum
2003--04 Nassau NY: no #, ill., as La jeune mariée (The Young Bride), lent by the Montclair Art Museum

published references
Art Quarterly 1958a: p. 84, as La jeune mariée
Carson 1966: p. 125, as "an early painting"
Hale, N. 1975: p. 55, as The Young Bride
Getlein 1980: p. 14, ill., as The Young Bride
Pollock 1980: p. 22; p. 37, ill.; pp. 65, 78, as The Young Bride
Constantino 1995: p. 9, as La jeune mariée
Gruitrooy 1996: p. 12, ill. (image reversed), as La jeune mariée (The Young Bride)
Pollock 1998: pp. 85--86; p. 87, ill., as The Young Bride

commentary

The Young Bride is likely the earliest extant work by Cassatt. Relatively few pictures from her early career are known to exist (only 32 paintings from 1866 to 1876), and no images from her student years in the U.S. (1860–65) have ever been located. This absence of early work is due both to Cassatt's own efforts to edit her body of work, such as her 1906 destruction of pictures unwanted by dealers,[1] and bad luck, as two of her paintings were lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Others have disappeared over the course of 150 years.

Cassatt was generous with her early pictures, giving a number of them to friends and employees. Such is the case with The Young Bride, which she presented to Martha Gansloser (or Ganzloser) Röhrich. According to transcripts of letters written by Röhrich and a certificate of employment from Cassatt (provided to Breeskin by the New York dealer Karl Loevenich in 1954), Röhrich worked as a chambermaid for Cassatt from 1902 to 1909. When Gansloser left the artist's employ to marry, Cassatt gave her this painting as a gift. Loevenich purchased the painting from Röhrich, and The Young Bride is next known with Dr. Max Kade (1882–1967), New York. Kade, a native of Schwäbisch Hall, Germany (where Röhrich lived in the early 1950s), gained his wealth from the Pertussin cough medicine formula. In 1944, he established a foundation whose original aim during the postwar period was to save works of art and other relics of German cultural heritage.

The Young Bride was likely painted about 1866–67 judging from stylistic evidence, signature type, and inscribed location. The composition, representing a seated woman seen from the head to slightly below the knees, is similar to that of The Mandolin Player, which is likely Cassatt's 1868 Salon picture. Both works exhibit a limited palette comprised mainly of white, flesh tones, a red hue, and a range of browns and blacks. However, The Mandolin Player is more confidently painted, with a more sophisticated use of chiaroscuro, a better understanding of anatomy, and brushwork that more accurately describes form. This confidence suggests that The Mandolin Player was painted somewhat later than The Young Bride, after Cassatt had more deeply absorbed the lessons of her European teachers.

Both The Young Bride and The Mandolin Player are signed "Mary Stevenson," the pseudonym that Cassatt used through mid-1872. (Stevenson was Cassatt's middle name and her mother's maiden name.) The Young Bride is also inscribed "Paris," meaning that it was probably created between January 1866, when Cassatt began her studies in that city, and February 1867, when she moved to Courances, near Barbizon. With its young woman in an elaborately sleeved gown knitting a stocking, The Young Bride echoes the elegant, bourgeois subject matter favored by Charles Chaplin, the Anglo-French academic painter with whom Cassatt studied in late 1866.

PAI

[1] According to Nancy Mowll Mathews, Mary Cassatt: A Life (New York: Villard, 1994), p. 282, Cassatt wrote in a 1906 letter that she destroyed these works in a fire, "to save my heirs the trouble."

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keywords:
 woman
 girl
 red
 dress
 lace
 sitting
 looking down
 needlework
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