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Mary Cassatt | Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge, 1879

Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge (or Lydia in a Loge) is an 1879 painting by American artist Mary Cassatt.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired the painting in 1978 from the bequest of Charlotte Dorrance Wright.
The style in which it was painted and the depiction of shifting light and color was influenced by Impressionism.
This painting shows a view of the modern woman and is similar in style to Degas.

Mary Cassatt | Self-portrait, 1878 | Metropolitan Museum of Art


This oil on canvas painting is 32 x 23 1/2 inches (81.3 x 59.7 cm).
The painting shows a woman sitting on a large red chair in the balconies of the Paris Opéra House.
The figure is seated in front of a massive mirror that is reflecting the theater scene that the woman is experiencing; it is also giving us the view point that the woman is having.

As with Degas, Cassatt paid close attention to the "effects of artificial lighting on flesh tones".
The woman is sitting enjoying the sights, the city nightlife that most Impressionists were fascinated with, as she people watches.
She is dressed up, as with what was expected of going to a theater, with a peach colored dress, makeup, pearls, gloves and hair pinned back.
She is holding a fan and a flower is attached to the bodice of the dress. She looks bemused with what she is seeing.
The quick painterly style of Impressionist paintings can be seen here as Cassatt was heavily inspired by it.

The background is very gestural and loose as people are carved out in simple brush marks of color.
An elaborate chandelier is also shown in the reflection of the mirror.
The rich colors of the painting draw the viewer in, deep shadows create contrast against the brightness of the light source.
The brush strokes within the dress itself give a texture to it and a liveliness to the piece.
Cassatt paints her sister up close, giving the viewer a place in the opera box next to Lydia. | Source: © Wikipedia