14 (Breeskin 958)
Portrait of Madame Sisley
1873
Oil on board
7 x 5 1/2 in. (17.78 x 13.97 cm)
Inscribed upper left: Mad. Sisley./M.S. Cassatt./Paris 1873.
Private collection

provenance / ownership history
Eleanor Jacobs, New York, from a European dealer, by 1979
to Eleanor and Raymond Jacobs, New York
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York
private collection, by 1991

exhibition history
1981 Isetan Japan: #6, ill., as Portrait of Madame Sisley, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Jacobs, New York

published references
Mathews 1987: p. 22, ill.; pp. 23, 29, as Portrait of Madame Sisley
Gerdts and Dearinger 1992: p. 84, as "Sisley . . . wife's portrait"
Mathews 1994: pp. 88, 108, as "head of Mme Sisley"

commentary

This may be a portrait of Madame Alfred Sisley, née Marie Lescouezec. A comparison between the figure in this work and the woman in Pierre-Auguste Renoir's 1868 portrait Le ménage Sisley (Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne) lends credibility to the identification of "Mad. Sisley" (as is inscribed on Cassatt's picture) with Sisley's longtime companion, whom he did not actually marry until 1897. Lescouezec bore Sisley's children out of wedlock in the late 1860s and likely was known to Cassatt as "Madame" even before the marriage. The use of "Mad." in Cassatt's inscription rather than the more common "Mme" is probably due to less rigid nineteenth-century ideas about spelling. Little is known about the origins of Cassatt's relationship with her fellow Impressionist Sisley and his eventual wife.

Portrait of Madame Sisley is also inscribed "Paris." Cassatt visited that city twice in 1873, before and after her summer sojourn to the Low Countries. The tiny size of the picture and simple composition suggest that the picture was done more as a quick sketch than as a studied portrait.

The Breeskin catalogue raisonné (1970) contained only 943 works. All Breeskin numbers above 943 listed on this site were created by the Mary Cassatt Catalogue Raisonné Committee for record-keeping purposes and do not correspond to works in the Breeskin catalogue.

PAI

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Les fiancés (Le ménage Sisley), 1868, oil on canvas, 29.5 x 41.3 in. (75 x 105 cm), Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne.

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keywords:
 portrait
 looking right
 hat
 red
 collar
 black
 blond
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