97 (Breeskin 81)
Elsie Cassatt Holding a Big Dog
Alternate title(s): Child with a Dog; Elsie Cassatt Holding a Dog; Elsie Cassatt in a Blue Armchair; Elsie Cassatt with Dog; Elsie with a Dog; Elsie with Dog on Her Lap (Mrs. W. Plunkett Stewart); ?Portrait d'enfant; Portrait of a Child in Pastel; ?Portrait of Miss Elsie Cassatt
1882--83
Pastel on paper
25 1/4 x 20 1/2 in. (64.14 x 52.07 cm)
Unsigned
Last known when offered at Christie's, New York, 1991

provenance / ownership history
From the artist
to her brother Alexander J. Cassatt, probably by late 1883 or early 1884
to his daughter (the sitter) Elsie Cassatt (Mrs. W. Plunkett) Stewart, by 1920
to her daughter Elsie Stewart Simmons
consigned by her estate to Christie's, New York, November 5, 1991, #29, ill.

exhibition history
1883 Dowdeswell: #68, as Portrait d'enfant
1885 Pennsylvania Academy: #398, as Portrait of a Child in Pastel, lent by Alexander J. Cassatt
1895 Durand-Ruel NY: #24, as Portrait d'enfant, lent by a private collection
1920b Pennsylvania Academy: #14, as Child with a Dog, lent by Mrs. W. Plunkett Stewart
1927 Penn Museum: #32, as Portrait of Miss Elsie Cassatt [or B-86]
1939 Haverford PA: #22, as Elsie Cassatt with Dog, lent by Elsie Cassatt Stewart
1942 Print Club Phila: no #, as "the pastel portrait of her mother," lent by Elsie Cassatt Stewart
1960 Phila Museum: no #, as Elsie with Dog on Her Lap (Mrs. W. Plunkett Stewart)

published references
Blackburn 1883: p. 155, ill. after work, as Portrait d'enfant
Philadelphia Telegraph 1885: p. 3, as "pastel portrait of a little girl with a Scotch terrier in her lap"
NY Daily Tribune 1895: p. 25, as "[No.] 24"
Art Digest 1932b: p. 10, as "the little girl with the dog"
Brinton 1939: n.p., as Elsie Cassatt with Dog
Mathews 1984: p. 167n2, as "Elsie's portrait"; p. 185n1, as Elsie Cassatt Holding a Dog; letters: Robert Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, May 25 [1883], pp. 166-67, as "Elsie's [portrait]"; MC to Lois Cassatt, June 15 [1885], p. 167, as "Elsie's [portrait]"; MC to Alexander Cassatt, June 22 [1883], p. 170, as "Elsie's portrait"; MC to Alexander Cassatt, August 3 [1883], p. 171, as one of the "pictures"; Katherine Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, November 30 [1883], p. 174, as "Elsie's portrait"; MC to Alexander Cassatt, January 5, 1884, p. 177, as one of the "pictures"
Lindsay 1985: pp. 23, 49, 50, 90, 93, 95n10, as Elsie with a Dog
Mathews 1994: pp. 167--68, 236, as "pastel . . . of Elsie"

commentary

Probably not long after it was completed, Elsie Cassatt Holding a Big Dog was sent by Durand-Ruel to Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell's, London, to be included in an exhibition that opened in the spring of 1883. The artist's father wrote to Alexander Cassatt about a mistake in the exhibition catalogue, "By some stroke of Durand Ruels financial policy [Mary's] pictures (3) were all entered on the catalogue as not for sale—The fact being that Elsie's was the only one that ought to have been so marked."[1]

Cassatt shipped Elsie Cassatt Holding a Big Dog to Alexander on August 10, 1883.[2] It is not known exactly when the picture arrived in the United States, but additional family letters express hope that it would be delivered first by November 1883 and then by January 1884.[3]

PAI

[1] Robert Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, Paris, May 25, [1883], in Cassatt and Her Circle: Selected Letters, ed. Nancy Mowll Mathews (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), pp. 166–67.

[2] MC to Alexander Cassatt, Paris, October 14, [1883], in Mathews 1984, p. 172.

[3] Katherine Cassatt to Alexander Cassatt, Paris, November 30, [1883], in Mathews 1984, p. 174; MC to Alexander Cassatt, Tarragona, January 5, 1884, in Mathews 1984, p. 177.

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keywords:
 dog
 portrait
 girl
 hat
 black
 cape
 gloves
 sitting
 looking right
 animal
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