39 (Breeskin 73)
A Woman in Black at the Opera
Alternate title(s): At the Français; At the Français, a Sketch; At the Français: A Sketch; At the French Theater; At the Opera; Box at the Opera; Dans la loge; Dans la loge (In the Box at the Theatre); Dau [sic] la loge; In the Box; In the Loge; La loge; Loge; The Lady at the Opera; Theater; Woman in Black at the Opera
c. 1877--78
Oil on canvas
32 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (82.55 x 66.68 cm)
Inscribed lower left: Mary Cassatt
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Hayden Collection---Charles Henry Hayden Fund, 10.35

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to J. Gardner Cassatt, her brother, by 1881
MM. Martin et Camentron, Paris, by November 1893
Durand-Ruel, New York, between February 13 and June 28, 1894, until at least 1909 (New York stock #1166, New York photo #488)
F. W. Bayley, Boston
to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1910

exhibition history
1878 Massachusetts Mechanic: #234, as At the Français, a Sketch
1893 Durand-Ruel Paris: #13, as La loge, lent by Mr. Martin and Mr. Camentron (no signature noted in catalogue)
1895 Durand-Ruel NY: #5, as Dans la loge
1895 Woman's Art Club NY: #17, as Dans la loge
1896 Durand-Ruel NY: no further information
1898 St Botolph Boston: #14, as Dans la loge
1900 Cincinnati Museum: #12, as Dans la loge, lent by Durand-Ruel & Son, N.Y.
1903 Durand-Ruel NY: #1, as Dans la loge
1907a Pennsylvania Academy: #124, as Dans la loge
1909 St Botolph Boston: #24, as Dans la loge, lent by Durand-Ruel & Sons
1909b Durand-Ruel NY: no catalogue known
1926--27 Chicago AIC: #1, as At the Opera
1928 Carnegie Institute: #2, as At the Opera
1928 Smith College: #9, as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1933 Chicago AIC: #437, as At the Opera
1935 Wadsworth Atheneum: #13, as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1937 Brooklyn Museum: #31, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1939 Seligmann NY: #23, as At the Opera
1941--42 Baltimore Museum: #7, as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1947 Wildenstein NY: #5, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1951 Dayton OH: no #, as At the Opera
1955 Pennsylvania Academy: #121, as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1957--58 Carnegie Institute: #7, as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1962 Baltimore Museum: #101, ill., as At the Opera
1964 World's Fair NY: #10, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1969 Joslyn Omaha: #2, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1970 National Gallery DC: #18, ill., as A Woman in Black at the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1970b MFA Boston: #86, ill., as At the Opera
1974--75 Met Museum NY: #4, ill., as A Woman in Black at the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1977b Wildenstein NY: #57, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1978 MFA Boston: #8, ill., as At the Opera
1979 Portland ME: no #, as A Woman in Black at the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1983 Detroit Institute: #136, ill., as At the Opera
1984 Coe Kerr NY: #6, ill., as At the Opera, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1998--99 Chicago AIC: #17, ill., as At the Français, a Sketch, lent by the Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston (Chicago, Boston, Washington)
2003 Met Museum NY: #202, ill., as In the Loge
2006--07 National Gallery London: #49, ill., as In the Loge, lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

published references
Boston Evening Transcript 1878a: p. 4, as "lady in black bonnet and dress"
Boston Morning Journal 1878: p. 3, as At the Français, a Sketch
Clement and Hutton 1880: p. 123, as At the French Theater
Brownell 1881: p. 333, ill.; pp. 333--34, as At the Opera
NY World 1885: p. 17, as At the Opera
Art Amateur 1895: p. 106, as "young lady in black"
Critic 1895: p. 129, as Dans la loge
Marks 1895b: p. 158, as La loge
Monthly Illustrator 1895: p. xiv, as Dans la loge
NY Daily Tribune 1895: p. 25, as Dans la loge
NY Sun 1895: p. 7, as Dans la loge
NY Times 1895a: p. 4, as Dans la loge
NY Times 1895b: p. 4, as Dans la loge
Collector 1896: p. 49, as "half-length figure of a lady in an opera box"
Revue encyclopédique 1896: p. 852, as Dans la loge
Walton 1896: p. 354, as In the Box
Hoeber 1899a: p. 741, as Dans la loge
Brush and Pencil 1900: p. 182, as Dans la loge
Hartmann 1901: p. 188, as At the Opera
NY Daily Tribune 1903: p. 8, as Dans la loge
NY Times 1903: p. 7, as Dans la loge
American Art News 1906b: p. 6, as At the Opera
NY Globe 1906: p. 10, as Dans la loge
NY Sun 1906: p. 9, as an "interesting early work"
Philadelphia Inquirer 1906b: p. 3, as "woman in a the box at the theatre"
Cary 1907a: p. 192, ill.; p. 195, as Dans la loge
Henderson 1907: p. 1, as La loge [see James B. Townsend, "Penna. Academy Exhibition," American Art News 5 (January 26, 1907), p. 4, which explains that there was a typesetting error in Henderson's article: this mention of La loge should have appeared not in the ninth paragraph but rather in the fifth paragraph, as part of the sentence "There are two paintings by Miss Mary Cassatt."
Hoeber 1907: p. 16, as Dans la loge
Philadelphia Inquirer 1907: Third section, p. 1, ill., as La loge and Dans la loge
Boston Evening Transcript 1909: p. 11, as "No. 25 . . . lady in black"
Cary 1909: p. 29, as "woman in the opera-box"
Hale, P. 1909: p. 7, as Loge at the Opera
NY Times 1909d: p. X6, as Dans la loge
Borgmeyer 1913a: p. 215; p. 226, ill., as Dans la loge (In the Box at the Theatre)
Borgmeyer 1913b: p. 149, as "at the theatre"; p. 233, as Loge
Borgmeyer 1913d: p. 217; p. 226, ill., as Dans la loge (In the Box at the Theatre)
Hoeber 1914: p. 2, ill., as In the Box
Boston MFA 1921: p. 178, #565, as At the Opera
Boston Evening Transcript 1922: Part 2, p. 3, as The Lady at the Opera
NY Times 1928a: p. X13, as Dans la loge
Pittsburgh Index 1928: p. 12, as At the Opera
Boston MFA 1932: n.p., ill., as At the Opera
Hendy 1932: p. 81, as At the Opera
Watson 1932: p. 29, ill., as At the Opera
Art Digest 1933a: p. 29, as At the Opera
Art Digest 1933b: p. 34, as At the Opera
Art News 1933a: p. 3, as At the Opera
Art News 1933b: p. 6, as At the Opera
Frankfurter 1939: cover, ill., as At the Opera
Lane 1939: p. 297, ill., as At the Opera
Cheney 1941: p. 337, ill., as At the Opera
Breuning 1944: p. 37, ill., as At the Opera
Jewell 1944: p. 93, ill., as At the Opera
Paris 1944: p. 146, as At the Opera
Huth 1946: p. 233, ill., as Box at the Opera
Rewald 1946: p. 349, ill., as At the Opera
Art News 1947: p. 18, ill., as At the Opera
Reed 1947: p. 16, as At the Opera
Breeskin 1948: p. 56, as "painting in the Boston Museum"
Monro and Monro 1948: p. 125, as At the Opera
Edgell 1949: p. 70, ill., as At the Opera
Leymarie 1955: p. 69, ill., as At the Opera
Cheney 1956: p. 337, ill., as At the Opera
Washburn 1957: p. 259, ill., as At the Opera
Johnson, L. 1962: p. 14; p. 15, ill., as At the Opera
Monro and Monro 1964: p. 90, as At the Opera
Carson 1966: p. 29, ill.; p. 30, as At the Opera
Sweet 1966: pl. 11, ill., as At the Opera; p. 38, as Theater; pp. 48--49, as At the Opera; p. 137, as At the Opera
Boston MFA 1969: p. 46; p. 299, fig. 473, ill., as At the Opera
Lynes 1970: p. 441, ill., as At the Opera
Bullard 1972: p. 32; p. 33, color pl. 6, ill., as A Woman in Black at the Opera
Wells 1972: p. 133; p. 134, ill., as At the Opera
Hale, N. 1975: p. xxiv, as "lady in black;" pp. 79, 94; p. 130, as Woman in Black at the Opera; pp. 166--67, as At the Opera
Yeh 1976: p. 359; p. 360, ill., as At the Opera
Henkes 1977: pp. 3--4; n.p., ill., as At the Opera
Kramer 1977: p. 31, as At the Opera
Sutton 1977: p. 23; p. 57, fig. 70, ill., as At the Opera
Young 1977a: p. 54, ill., as At the Opera
Shapiro 1978: p. 2, as At the Opera
Yaegashi and Kashiwa 1978: p. 11; p. 12, ill.
Roudebush 1979: p. 24; p. 35, ill., as At the Opera
Stuckey 1979: p. 273, ill., as At the Opera
Gerdts 1980: p. 47, as Woman in Black at the Opera
Getlein 1980: p. 26, ill., as At the Opera
Pollock 1980: pp. 10, 11, 19; p. 40, ill.; pp. 66, 67, as Woman in Black at the Opera
Ross, N. 1982: p. 7, as A Woman in Black at the Opera
Huntington et al 1983: pp. 40, 216--17; p. 216, ill., as At the Opera
Gerdts 1984: p. 33, ill.; pp. 34, 35, 37, as At the Opera
Glueck 1984: p. C28, as At the Opera
Mathews 1984: p. 140n2, as At the Français, A Sketch; letters: Robert Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, October 4, 1878, p. 138, as "some of Mary's pictures . . . have been sent to the Boston exhibition"; Katherine Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, November 22 [1878], p. 141, as "'Theater'"
Seldin 1984: cover, ill.; n.p., fig. 6, ill., as At the Opera
Lindsay 1985: p. 42, ill.; pp. 91, 95nn16,17, as At the Opera
Bialostocki 1986: p. 17, ill., as Dans la loge
Garb 1986: p. 58; p. 59, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Adler and Garb 1987: p. 100, ill., as At the Opera
Mathews 1987: p. 38; p. 39, ill.; pp. 43, 47, 48, as At the Opera
Herbert 1988: p. 99, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Pollock 1988: pp. 75--76; p. 77, ill., as At the Opera
Van Buren 1989: pp. 147, 201n91, as A Woman in Black at the Opera
Chadwick 1990: p. 224, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Barzman 1991: p. 37, as At the Opera
Effeny 1991: p. 64; p. 65, ill., as At the Opera
Higonnet 1992: pp. 141--42; p. 141, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Frascina et al 1993: p. 262; p. 265, pl. 239, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Stein 1993: p. 217, ill. as "interior Durand-Ruel gallery"
Sund 1993: p. 461, ill.; pp. 462, 464, as At the Opera
Boime 1994: p. 35, ill., as At the Opera
Constantino 1995: p. 10; p. 39, ill., as At the Opera
Smith, P. 1995: pp. 70--71; p. 71, ill.; pp. 73--74, 81, 166, as Woman in Black at the Opera
Gruitrooy 1996: pp. 33--34; p. 35, ill., as At the Opera
Nochlin 1997: p. 64, ill., as Woman in Black at the Opera
Kramer 1998: p. 29, as Woman in a Loge
Pollock 1998: pp. 10, 11, as At the Opera; p. 129, as "[fig.] 105" [margin note]; p. 141, as At the Opera; p. 144, as "this painting"; p. 145, ill.; p. 147, as At the Opera
Shapiro 1998: p. 19, ill.; pp. 21, 76, as At the Français (A Sketch)
Robinson, J. 1999: p. 29, as Young Woman in Black at the Opera or At the Français, a Sketch
Pollock 2002: pp. 140--41n23, as At the Français: A Sketch
Tinterow 2003: pp. 57, 63, as In the Loge
Yoshihara 2003: p. 50, as At the Opera
Korn 2004: p. 208, as "Cassatt B73"
Broude 2005: p. 262, as At the Opera
Hirshler 2006: p. 98, as "cat. 49"; p. 101, ill., as In the Loge
Nochlin 2006b: p. 173, as Woman in Black at the Opera
Thomas, G. 2006: p. 35, as At the Opera
Boone 2007: p. 103; p. 104, ill., as In the Loge
Bailey 2008: p. 341, as one of "two canonical loge paintings by Cassatt"

commentary

As Nancy Mowll Mathews has posited, the model for A Woman in Black at the Opera is likely Mary Ellison, a friend of the artist's who is also the subject of Miss Mary Ellison Embroidering.[1] The location appears to be the Théâtre français, the state theater of France, which is located in Paris on the rue de Richelieu. Cassatt discussed her experiences in obtaining free and low-priced tickets to this theater in a letter written on the final day of 1872.[2]

Due to the Impressionist subject matter and style, A Woman in Black at the Opera could not have been begun before 1877, but it was completed by June 1878 because it is likely one of the three pictures discussed by Robert Cassatt in a letter to Alexander Cassatt, October 4, 1978. Mr. Cassatt told his son, "Mrs. Mitchell took some of Mary's pictures home with her in June last & some two or three of them have been sent to the Boston Exhibition & have received very flattering notices from the papers."[3] This was one of the works shown at the fine arts section of the 1878 Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association exhibition in Boston and favorably reviewed as early as September 3, 1878. As Mathews points out, A Woman in Black at the Opera, when shown in 1878 in Boston, may have been the first of Cassatt's Impressionist works to be exhibited in the United States.[4]

PAI

[1] Nancy Mowll Mathews, Mary Cassatt (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1987), p. 43.

[2] MC to Emily Sartain, Seville, New Year's Evening, 1873, in Cassatt and Her Circle: Selected Letters, ed. Nancy Mowll Mathews (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), p. 113.

[3] Robert Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, Paris, October 4, 1878, in Mathews 1984, p. 138. For more on Mrs. Mitchell, see the entry for Torero and Young Girl.

[4] Mathews 1987, p. 38.

Photograph of work in situ at Durand-Ruel, New York, 1894; in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection, edited by Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen et al. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), p. 217.

« previous entry  |  next entry »
go to entry number: 
MCCR  |  Breeskin
keywords:
 woman
 black
 opera
 theater
 looking left
 fan
 balcony
 dress
 hat
 box
© 2018 Adelson Galleries, New York. All rights reserved