This is a really interesting story about the relationship that both intrigued and tortured the artists, Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. While each of them battles their own internal cravings to achieve greatness as artists, they also battle each other, their critics, and often the other artists that surround them. The setting is, of course, Paris in the later 1800’s, when the Impressionists were also doing battle with the infamous Salon, which shunned them. And the strain of all of these battles comes through and affects all of them in their own way.
There is also the theme of the battle between art and love; that is, the artists struggle to determine whether the two are interdependent or mutually exclusive. For Degas, especially, it is a constant strain. In this, he differs greatly with Mary Cassatt and it seems as if this is the essence of their difficulty.
It’s a fun read, especially if you love the Impressionists as I always have. To feel you know a little more of their lives brings their paintings even more to life. I can’t wait to get back to the Met now!