492 (Breeskin 554)
Portrait of Madame O. de S. and Her Children
Alternate title(s): Madame X et ses enfants; Portrait de Mme O. de S... et de ses enfants
Pastel on paper
35 x 28 in. (88.9 x 71.12 cm)
Inscribed lower left: Mary Cassatt
Last known in a private collection, Paris, 1969

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to Baron Octave de Sailly, Neuilly-sur-Seine and Pouilly, France
private collection, Paris, by 1969

exhibition history
1908 Durand-Ruel Paris: #24, as Portrait de Mme O. de S... et de ses enfants, lent by M. le baron de S[ailly]
1959--60 Am Center Paris: #11, as Madame X et ses enfants, lent by private collection, Paris

published references
Venturi 1939: p. 125, as "M. de Sailly"
Pickvance 1973: p. 746, as "Nos. 553--554"


Cassatt's lawyer and close friend Octave de Sailly lived in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine and had a château in Pouilly, near Cassatt's château in Beaufresne. According to the Cassatt biographer Frederick Sweet, de Sailly's children Agnès and Jean:

posed for Mary Cassatt as children. They recall that, when she came to call on their parents, she insisted upon remaining in her car, which meant that they all had to stand around, but they were so fascinated by her personality that they did not mind. Posing for Mary Cassatt, they said, was fun as she kept them amused with books and toys, but they were driven to distraction by her Belgian griffons nipping at their ankles.[1]

Agnès posed twice for Cassatt: first in 1907 [ck date] for Agnès, Age Five and Portrait of Agnès and a Dog, and again in 1910 [ck date] for Sketch for "Portrait of Agnès, Age Six" and Portrait of Agnès, Age Six.


[1] Frederick A. Sweet, Miss Mary Cassatt, Impressionist from Pennsylvania (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), p. 148. Nancy Hale also interviewed Jean de Sailly while researching her book, Mary Cassatt (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1975); de Sailly's interesting memories of visits with Cassatt can be found in Hale's book on pp. 181–84.

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