48 (Breeskin 57)
The Nurse
Alternate title(s): Bonne et enfants au jardin; Children in a Garden; Children in a Garden (Enfants au jardin); Enfants au jardin; La nourrice; The Nursemaid
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 31 3/4 in. (64.77 x 80.64 cm)
Inscribed lower left: Mary Cassatt
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Gift of Meredith J. and Cornelia Long

provenance / ownership history
Possibly purchased by Durand-Ruel, Paris, from the artist, April 1882, (if this work is Paris stock #2295 in 1880--82 stockbook, as Bonne et enfants au jardin)
Charles Edward Haviland, France, by 1886, possibly through FĂ©lix Bracquemond
to Charles Haviland sale, HĂ´tel Drouot, Paris, December 7, 1922, #41, as La nourrice
to M. Knoedler & Co., London, (stock #15659)
to E. G. Byng, London, November 1923
to M. Knoedler & Co., London, 1925, (stock #16201)
to Andrew V. Stout, New York, December 1944
his son A. Varick Stout and Elizabeth Sprague Stout, by 1965
to Sotheby's, New York, May 3, 1973, #59, ill., as La nourrice
to Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Newhouse Galleries, and Long & Co., New York
to Meredith J. and Cornelia Long
to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2001

exhibition history
1886 Impressionist Exh: #12, as Enfants au jardin, lent by M. H.
1923 Knoedler London: #4, as La nourrice
1930 Minneapolis: #4, as The Nurse, lent by Knoedler & Co.
1939 NC State Art Soc: #4, as La nourrice, lent by Knoedler
1941 Knoedler NY: no #, as La nourrice
1943 New Britain CT: #53, as La nourrice, probably lent by Knoedler
1966a Knoedler NY: #1, ill., as The Nursemaid, lent by Mr. and Mrs. A. Varick Stout
1970 National Gallery DC: #12, ill., as The Nurse, lent by Mr. and Mrs. A. Varick Stout
1981 Isetan Japan: #10, ill., as The Nurse, lent by Cornelia and Meredith Long, Houston
1982--83 Petit Palais Paris: #1, ill., as La nourrice, lent by Meredith and Cornelia Long
1994 MFA Houston: #13, ill., as The Nurse, lent by private collection
1998--99 Chicago AIC: #12, ill., as Children in a Garden (Enfants au jardin), lent by Mr. and Mrs. Meredith J. Long (Chicago, Boston, Washington)

published references
Christophe 1886: p. 436 in Berson, as "enfants et leur bonne"
Geffroy 1886: p. 451 in Berson, as Enfants au jardin
Maus 1886: p. 463 in Berson, as "Les six peintures Ă  l'huile et le pastel"
Moniteur des arts 1886: p. 467 in Berson, as "mères et d'enfants . . . au jardin"
Gazette Drouot 1922c: p. 1, as La nourrice
Gazette Drouot 1922e: # 41, as La nourrice
Fage 1930: pp. 56--57, as La nourrice
Ward 1986: p. 443, as "perhaps Breeskin 57"
Neff 1994: p. 33; p. 71, pl. 13, ill., as The Nurse
Pollock 1998: p. 189, as The Nurse


Marcel Guérin, in Lettres de Degas, reproduces an undated letter from Degas to fellow artist Félix Bracquemond, to which Guérin assigns a date of 1879.[1] In the letter, Degas writes, "Tell Haviland who was infatuated with a little picture of Mlle Cassat [sic] and who wished to know the price, that it is a simple matter of 300 frcs, that he should write to me if that does not suit him and to Mlle Cassat [sic], 6, Boulevard de Clichy if it does."[2] This letter is generally interpreted as evidence that Degas and Bracquemond played a role in facilitating the direct sale of The Nurse by Cassatt to Haviland and that Haviland was likely the "Monsieur H." who lent the picture to the Impressionist exhibition of 1886. However, this painting also seems most likely to be the work titled Bonne et enfants au jardin purchased by Durand-Ruel from the artist in April 1882. It may be that Haviland bought the work from Durand-Ruel rather than from Cassatt or that the gallery returned the work to the artist, who sold it to Haviland not in 1879 but at some time after April 1882.

Charles Edward Haviland (d. 1922) was the son of David Haviland, an American china shop owner who moved his family to Limoges, France, in 1841 in order to open a porcelain manufacturing company. Charles and his brother Theodore ran Haviland China after the death of their father in 1879 until tensions led them to split into two separate firms, Charles's "Haviland et Cie.," and his brother's "Theodore Haviland, Limoges." Charles collected Japanese ceramics and prints as well as modern art.


[1] Marcel Guérin, ed., Lettres de Degas (Paris: Éditions Bernard Grasset, 1945), pp. 46–47.

[2] Edgar Degas to Félix Braquemond, 1879, in Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas: Letters, ed. Marcel Guérin, trans. Marguerite Kay (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, [1947]), pp. 51–52. It should be noted that in the French edition of this volume, the letter in question is listed as undated ("Sans date [1879]"), whereas the English editions do not specify that the letter is undated.

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