Young Mother Sewing, 1900. Mary Cassatt. Oil on canvas. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929.
In about 1890 Cassatt redirected her art toward women caring for children and children alone—themes that reflected her affection for her nieces and nephews and the prevailing cultural interest in child rearing. Cassatt enlisted two unrelated models to enact the roles of mother and child for this painting. Louisine Havemeyer, who purchased it in 1901, remarked on its truthfulness: “Look at that little child that has just thrown herself against her mother’s knee, regardless of the result and oblivious to the fact that she could disturb ‘her mamma.’ And she is quite right, she does not disturb her mother. Mamma simply draws back a bit and continues to sew.”