The North Carolina Museum of Art has acquired its first work by impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, courtesy of a Winston-Salem woman and some anonymous donors.
"Portrait of Madame X Dressed for the Matinee" will go on view in the museum's impressionist gallery later this month and be part of its permanent collection, museum officials said Tuesday.
Charlotte Hanes and other donors gave the painting to the museum in memory of her husband, Philip Hanes. The Hanes family had owned the portrait, which Cassatt painted at a pivotal time in her career.
"We are very excited and fortunate to acquire this beautiful portrait by Mary Cassatt — the Museum's first major work by an American female artist before Georgia O'Keeffe," said John Coffey, the museum's deputy director for art and curator of American and modern art. "That Madame X addresses the evolving role of women in modern society is equally important. In my opinion, it is not only the Museum's most important 19th-century painting by a female artist — it is our finest 19th-century portrait."
Cassatt, an American artist who painted the portrait of a fashionably dressed woman in 1877 and 1878, was rejected by the Paris Salon in 1877. Her friend, Edgar Degas, then invited her to exhibit with a group of artists known as impressionists, Coffey said. She was the first American, and one of only two women, invited into this circle.
The painting has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Paris, Zürich, New York, Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington.