Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper (Paperback) Review

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning PaperArt and life.Life and art.The lines pf demarcation aren't' visible in this richly imagined story of the relationship between Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt (1847 - 1926) and her older sister, Lydia, who sometimes served as Cassatt's model.Using five of the artist's paintings as springboards the author offers a moving story of courage and creativity, while she renders a fascinating study of the times in which the women lived.
Although suffering painfully, from a terminal illness, Bright's disease, Lydia continues to model for her sister, relentlessly scanning each finished portrait as if it foretold her future.Chessman conceives of Lydia as a study in patience and resignation, imagining thatpainter Edgar Degas, who often visited the sittings, said to Lydia, "You show me how to live, if only I could do it as you do."
In addition to exploring a unique sibling bond "Lydia Cassatt Reading The Morning Paper" suggests aspects of Cassatt's daring life, hints at a liaison with the dynamic Edgar Degas, and presents thumbnail sketches of her interaction with such artists as Renoir and Caillebotte.
Lydia, we learn, died in 1882 while Cassatt lived to create for over thirty more years.
Rather than a sad reflection on a too short life, Chessman, with pitch-perfect prose, has penned a celebration of family, love, and art.
- Gail Cooke

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