46 (Breeskin 56)
The Blue Room
Alternate title(s): Blue Room; Enfant dans le salon bleu; Four Armchairs; Girl in a Blue Armchair; Girl in the Blue Arm Chair; Le salon bleu; Le salon bleu (Little Girl in a Blue Armchair); Le salon bleu (Little Girl in the Blue Armchair); Little Girl in a Blue Armchair; Little Girl in Blue Armchair; Little Girl in the Blue Armchair; Little Girl in the Blue Room; Little Girl in a Blue Chair; Petite fille dans la chambre bleu; Petite fille dans une chambre bleue; Portrait de petite fille; Portrait of a Little Girl; Portrait of a Little Girl (Portrait de petite fille); The Blue Room (Little Girl in a Blue Armchair); Young Girl in a Blue Armchair
c. 1877--78
Oil on canvas
35 1/2 x 51 1/8 in. (90.17 x 129.86 cm)
Inscribed lower left: Mary Cassatt
National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon 1983.1.18

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to Ambroise Vollard, Paris, by 1908, until at least 1929
Hector Brame, Paris
to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia, November 1963
to National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1983

exhibition history
1908 Vollard Paris: #38, as Enfant dans le salon bleu
1912 Manzi Paris: #83, as Petite fille dans la chambre bleue
1928 Renaissance: #27, as Le salon bleu, lent by Ambroise Vollard
1966 National Gallery DC: #121, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
1970 National Gallery DC: #11, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, lent from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
1986b National Gallery DC: no #, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
1987--88 Museum Women DC: #41, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
1998--99 Chicago AIC: #11, ill., as Portrait of a Little Girl (Portrait de petite fille), lent by the National Gallery of Art (Chicago, Boston, Washington)
2006--07 National Gallery London: #34, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

published references
Alexandre, A. 1912b: p. xv, as Petite fille dans une chambre bleue
Borgmeyer 1913a: p. 405, ill., as Little Girl in the Blue Room
Borgmeyer 1913b: p. 249, ill., as Little Girl in the Blue Room
Alexandre, A. 1928: p. 278, ill., as Le salon bleu
Salmon 1928: p. 33, ill., as Le salon bleu
Michel 1929: p. 1155, ill.; p. 1157, as Le salon bleu
Sweet 1966: pl. 8, ill.; p. 39, as Le salon bleu (Little Girl in the Blue Armchair)
Conpoy 1970: p. 21, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Drexler 1970: p. 10, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Secrest 1970: p. K1, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair
Bullard 1972: pp. 14, 24; p. 25, color pl. 2, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Bullard 1973: p. 43, ill.; p. 47, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Lowe, D. 1973: p. 21, as Little Girl in the Blue Armchair
Pickvance 1973: p. 745, as Blue Room
Boyle 1974a: p. 107, ill.; p. 108, as The Blue Room
Hale, N. 1975: pp. xxiv, 82--83, as The Blue Room; following p. 120, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Yaegashi and Kashiwa 1978: p. 3; p. 4, ill.
Munro 1979: pp. 67--68; p. 73, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Roudebush 1979: p. 5, ill.; pp. 22, 24, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Getlein 1980: p. 16, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Love 1980: pp. 23--24; pl. 9, ill., as The Blue Room
Pollock 1980: pp. 15--16; p. 38, ill.; pp. 66, 67, 72, as Girl in a Blue Armchair
Havemeyer, A. 1981: pp. 60--61, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Teilman 1981: pp. 90--91, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Stebbins 1983: p. 160, as Blue Room
Gerdts 1984: p. 35, ill.; pp. 35--36, 39, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Mathews 1984: p. 282, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair; p. 283ns2,3, as "this painting"; letter: MC to Ambroise Vollard, [1903], pp. 281--82, as "the little girl in the blue armchair"
Fine 1985: p. 43, as The Blue Room
Gordon 1985: pp. 48--49, ill.; p. 51, as Little Girl in Blue Armchair
Breeskin 1986: pp. 38, 40, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Garb 1986: p. 68; p. 69, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Pickvance 1986: p. 267, as Portrait de petite fille
Gregory and Lyon 1987: p. 53; p. 58--59, ill., as The Blue Room (Little Girl in a Blue Armchair)
Mathews 1987: p. 35, ill.; pp. 43, 45, 129, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Stuckey and Scott 1987: p. 104; p. 106, ill.; p. 204, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Pollock 1988: p. 65, ill., as Young Girl in a Blue Armchair
Dillon 1990: pp. 177--78, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Gerdts 1990: p. 24, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Sutton 1990: pp. 35, 40n8, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Wolff 1990: p. 61, as Girl in a Blue Armchair; pp. 65-66n44, as "this painting"
Effeny 1991: pp. 16, 22, 54; p. 55, ill.; p. 80, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Gordon 1991: p. 158, as Girl in the Blue Arm Chair
Wiser 1991: pp. 51--52, as Le salon bleu
Gerdts and Dearinger 1992: p. 86, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Chessman 1993: p. 249, ill.; pp. 249--51, 252, 338nn35--36, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Mathews 1994: p. 125, ill.; pp. 125--26, 131, 132, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Constantino 1995: pp. 24--25, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Smith, P. 1995: p. 63, ill.; p. 64, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Gruitrooy 1996: p. 19, ill.; p. 20, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Pollock 1998: p. 129; p. 131, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair; p. 134, as "[fig.] 86" [margin note]; p. 194, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Shapiro 1998: p. 12, ill.; p. 13, ill. (detail); pp. 16, 17, 77, as Portrait of a Little Girl
Thomas, G. 2002: pp. 110--11, 114n31; p. 122, ill., as Young Girl in a Blue Armchair
Webster 2004: p. 10, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Meyers 2005: n.p., ill.; pp. 274--75, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Adler 2006: p. 46, as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Hirshler 2006: p. 76, as Portrait de petite fille; p. 77, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair
Igra 2006 : pp. 28, 34, as Little Girl in a Blue Chair
Vogel, C. 2006: p. E34, ill., as Little Girl in a Blue Armchair

commentary

Cassatt discussed this work with the dealer Ambroise Vollard in an undated letter that is generally believed to have been written in 1903:

I wanted to come back to your place yesterday to talk to you about the portrait of the little girl in the blue armchair. I did it in 78 or 79—it was the portrait of a child of friends of M. Degas— I had done the child in the armchair, and he found that to be good and advised me on the background, he even worked on the background— I sent it to the American section of the Gd. exposition 79 but was refused. Since M. Degas had thought it good I was furious especially because he had worked on it—at that time it seemed new, and the jury consisted of three people, of which one was a pharmacist![1]

In fact, Cassatt must have finished the work by early 1878, in time to submit it to the jury for the Exposition Universelle, which opened May 1 of that year, and not in 1879, which she offered as a possibility in the letter.

Though it has been proposed that The Blue Room is the work shown at the Impressionist exhibition of 1879 as #47, Portrait de petite fille, no evidence has emerged to support this view.

PAI

[1] MC to Ambroise Vollard, Mesnil-Beaufresne, Tuesday, [1903], in Cassatt and Her Circle: Selected Letters, ed. Nancy Mowll Mathews (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), pp. 281–82.

Photograph showing the work on the wall at an exhibition along with other works lent by Vollard, published in Les arts, 1912.

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keywords:
 blue
 girl
 armchair
 child
 dog
 sitting
 sofa
 plaid
 white
 dress
 animal
 looking forward
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