Electronic Cataloging Project Entry #47

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Electronic Cataloging Project Entry #47

June 8, 2012

When we acquired our Mary Cassatt, Madame Gaillard and Her Daughter Marie-Thérèse, 1897 it had a different title. Research in the 1990s revealed that the old title (Madame Meerson and Her Daughter) was based on the misidentification of the sitters. The new curatorial description describes the metamorphosis of the title. Here's an excerpt:

It is believed that mistake about the sitters' identity happened in this way:  In 1919, Cassatt's Paris art dealer Joseph Durand-Ruel acquired this pastel (presumably from the Gaillards themselves) and wrote to the artist to request identification of the sitters.  Cassatt identified them as Mme. Gaillard and her daughter.  In 1920, Durand-Ruel sold the piece to a Madame Meerson under the title Mere et Jeune Fille (Mother and Young Girl).  When it was sold in 1949 to a Morris Saffron, he mistakenly assumed that the previous owner of the painting, Madame Meerson, was the mother depicted.  It was at this point that the erroneous title became affixed. The work was officially retitled in 1997.

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